Vapor Phase Fabrication of Nanoheterostructures Based on ZnO for Photoelectrochemical Water Splitting
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article › Scientific › peer-review
|Journal||Advanced Materials Interfaces|
|Publication status||Published - 2017|
|Publication type||A1 Journal article-refereed|
Nanoheterostructures based on metal oxide semiconductors have emerged as promising materials for the conversion of sunlight into chemical energy. In the present study, ZnO-based nanocomposites have been developed by a hybrid vapor phase route, consisting in the chemical vapor deposition of ZnO systems on fluorine-doped tin oxide substrates, followed by the functionalization with Fe2O3 or WO3via radio frequency-sputtering. The target systems are subjected to thermal treatment in air both prior and after sputtering, and their properties, including structure, chemical composition, morphology, and optical absorption, are investigated by a variety of characterization methods. The obtained results evidence the formation of highly porous ZnO nanocrystal arrays, conformally covered by an ultrathin Fe2O3 or WO3 overlayer. Photocurrent density measurements for solar-triggered water splitting reveal in both cases a performance improvement with respect to bare zinc oxide, that is mainly traced back to an enhanced separation of photogenerated charge carriers thanks to the intimate contact between the two oxides. This achievement can be regarded as a valuable result in view of future optimization of similar nanoheterostructured photoanodes.