From Event: SPIE Optics + Photonics for Sustainable Energy, 2016
The optical and electronic properties of TiO2 thin films provide tremendous opportunities in several applications including photocatalysis, photovoltaics and photoconductors for energy production. Despite many attractive features of TiO2, critical challenges include the innate inability of TiO2 to absorb visible light and the fast recombination of photoexcited charge carriers. In this study, we prepared ordered mesoporous TiO2 films co-modified by graphene quantum dot sensitization and nitrogen doping (GQD-N-TiO2) for hydrogen production from photoelectrochemical water splitting under visible light irradiation. First, cubic ordered mesoporous TiO2 films were prepared by a surfactant templated sol-gel method. Then, TiO2 films were treated with N2/Ar plasma for the incorporation of substitutional N atoms into the lattice of TiO2. GQDs were prepared by chemically oxidizing carbon nano-onions. The immobilization of GQDs was accomplished by reacting carboxyl groups of GQDs with amine groups of N-TiO2 developed by the prior immobilization of (3-aminopropyl)triethoxysilane (APTES). Successful immobilization of GQDs onto N-TiO2 was probed by UV-Vis, FT-IR, and scanning electron microscopy. Further, zeta potential and contact angle measurements showed enhanced surface charge and hydrophilicity, confirming the successful immobilization of GQDs. The GQD-N-TiO2, N-TiO2 and GQD-TiO2 films showed 400 times, 130 times and 8 times photocurrent enhancement, respectively, compared to TiO2 films for water splitting with a halogen bulb light source. This outstanding enhancement is attributed to the high surface area of mesoporous films and synergistic effects of nitrogen doping and GQD sensitization resulting in enhanced visible light absorption, efficient charge separation and transport.
Syed Z. Islam, Namal Wanninayake, Allen D. Reed, Doo-Young Kim, and Stephen E. Rankin, "Synergistic effects of graphene quantum dot sensitization and nitrogen doping of ordered mesoporous TiO2 thin films for water splitting photocatalysis(Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 9935, Solar Hydrogen and Nanotechnology XI, 99350F (Presented at SPIE Optics + Photonics for Sustainable Energy: August 30, 2016; Published: 3 November 2016); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2237971.5167075338001.
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