Light absorption and charge transport in oxide semiconductors can be tuned by the introduction, during deposition, of a small quantity of foreign elements, leading to the improvement of the photoelectrocatalytic performance. In this work, both unmodified and vanadium-modified TiO2 thin films deposited by radio-frequency magnetron sputtering are investigated as photoanodes for photoelectrochemical water splitting. Following a structural characterization by X-ray diffraction, atomic force microscopy, Raman spectroscopy, and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, photoelectrocatalysis is discussed based on ultrafast transient absorbance spectroscopy measurements. In particular, three different pump wavelengths from UV to the visible range are used (300, 390, and 530 nm) in order to cover the relevant photoactive spectral range of modified TiO2. Incident photon-to-current conversion efficiency spectra show that incorporation of vanadium in TiO2 extends water splitting in the visible range up to ≈530 nm, a significant improvement compared to unmodified TiO2 that is active only in the UV range ≲390 nm. However, transient absorbance spectroscopy clearly reveals that vanadium accelerates electron-hole recombination upon UV irradiation, resulting in a lower photon-to-current conversion efficiency in the UV spectral range with respect to unmodified TiO2. The new photoelectrocatalytic activity in the visible range is attributed to a V-induced introduction of intragap levels at ≈2.2 eV below the bottom of the conduction band. This is confirmed by long-living transient signals due to electrons photoexcited into the conduction band after visible light (530 nm) pulses. The remaining holes migrate to the semiconductor-electrolyte interface where they are captured by long-lived traps and eventually promote water oxidation under visible light.

Ultrafast Charge Carrier Dynamics in Vanadium-Modified TiO2Thin Films and Its Relation to Their Photoelectrocatalytic Efficiency for Water Splitting

Piccioni A.;Boscherini F.
;
Pasquini L.
2020

Abstract

Light absorption and charge transport in oxide semiconductors can be tuned by the introduction, during deposition, of a small quantity of foreign elements, leading to the improvement of the photoelectrocatalytic performance. In this work, both unmodified and vanadium-modified TiO2 thin films deposited by radio-frequency magnetron sputtering are investigated as photoanodes for photoelectrochemical water splitting. Following a structural characterization by X-ray diffraction, atomic force microscopy, Raman spectroscopy, and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, photoelectrocatalysis is discussed based on ultrafast transient absorbance spectroscopy measurements. In particular, three different pump wavelengths from UV to the visible range are used (300, 390, and 530 nm) in order to cover the relevant photoactive spectral range of modified TiO2. Incident photon-to-current conversion efficiency spectra show that incorporation of vanadium in TiO2 extends water splitting in the visible range up to ≈530 nm, a significant improvement compared to unmodified TiO2 that is active only in the UV range ≲390 nm. However, transient absorbance spectroscopy clearly reveals that vanadium accelerates electron-hole recombination upon UV irradiation, resulting in a lower photon-to-current conversion efficiency in the UV spectral range with respect to unmodified TiO2. The new photoelectrocatalytic activity in the visible range is attributed to a V-induced introduction of intragap levels at ≈2.2 eV below the bottom of the conduction band. This is confirmed by long-living transient signals due to electrons photoexcited into the conduction band after visible light (530 nm) pulses. The remaining holes migrate to the semiconductor-electrolyte interface where they are captured by long-lived traps and eventually promote water oxidation under visible light.
Piccioni A.; Catone D.; Paladini A.; O'keeffe P.; Boschi A.; Kovtun A.; Katsikini M.; Boscherini F.; Pasquini L.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/786864
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