Band-offsets at BaTiO3/Cu2O heterojunction and enhanced photoelectrochemical response: theory and experiment
Dipika Sharmaa, Vibha R. Satsangib, Rohit Shrivastava, Umesh V. Waghmarec, Sahab Dassa
aDepartment of Chemistry, Dayalbagh Educational Institute, Agra-282 110 (India)
bDepartment of Physics and Computer Sciences, Dayalbagh Educational Institute, Agra-282 110 (India)
cTheoretical Sciences Unit, Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, Jakkur, Bangalore-560 064 (India)
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Study on photoelectrochemical activity of pristine BaTiO3, Cu2O and BaTiO3/Cu2O heterojunction has been carried out using DFT based band offsets and charge carriers effective mass calculations and their experimental verification. The results of DFT calculations show that BaTiO3 and Cu2O have staggered type band alignment after the heterojunction formation and high mobility of electrons in Cu2O as compared to the electrons in BaTiO3. Staggered type band edges alignment and high mobility of electrons and holes improved the separation of photo-generated charge carriers in BaTiO3/Cu2O heterojunction. To validate the theoretical results experiments were carried out on pristine BaTiO3, Cu2O and BaTiO3/Cu2O heterojunction with varying thickness of Cu2O. All samples were characterized by X- Ray Diffractometer, SEM and UV–Vis spectrometry. Nanostructured thin films of pristine BaTiO3, Cu2O and BaTiO3/Cu2O heterojunction were used as photoelectrode in the photoelectrochemical cell for water splitting reaction. Maximum photocurrent density of 1.44 mA/cm2 at 0.90 V/SCE was exhibited by 442 nm thick BaTiO3/Cu2O heterojunction photoelectrode Increased photocurrent density and enhanced photoconversion efficiency, exhibited by the heterojunction may be attributed to improved conductivity and enhanced separation of the photogenerated carriers at the BaTiO3/Cu2O interface. The experimental results and first-principles calculations compare well, thus suggesting that such calculations have the potential to be used in screening various metal oxide heterojunction before performing the experiments thereby saving precious chemicals, time and energy.
Keywords: Photoelectrochemical, Water splitting, heterojunction, Cu2O, BaTiO3
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 Dipika Sharma, Anuradha Verma, V.R. Satsangi, Rohit shrivastav, Sahab Dass Nanostructured SrTiO3 thin films sensitized by Cu2O for Photoelectrochemical Hydrogen Generation. International journal of Hydrogen Energy;42:,4230-4241, 2014.