Chalcogenide Sensitized Carbon Based TiO2 Nanomaterial For Solar Driven Applications
AdvisorSubramanian, Vaidyanathan Ravi
Chemical and Materials Engineering
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The demand for renewable energy is growing because fossils fuels are depleting at a rapid pace. Solar energy an abundant green energy resource. Utilizing this resource in a smart manner can resolve energy-crisis related issues. Sun light can be efficiently harvested using semiconductor based materials by utilizing photo-generated charges for numerous beneficial applications. The main goal of this thesis is to synthesize different nanostructures of TiO2, develop a novel method of coupling and synthesizing chalcogenide nanocrystals with TiO2 and to study the charge transportation effects of the various carbon allotropes in the chalcogenide nanocrystal sensitized TiO2 nanostructure.We have fabricated different nanostructures of TiO2 as solar energy harvesting materials. Effects of the different phases of TiO2 have also been studied. The anatase phase of TiO2 is more photoactive than the rutile phase of TiO2, and the higher dimension of the TiO2 can increase the surface area of the material which can produce higher photocurrent.Since TiO2 only absorbs in the UV range; to increase the absorbance TiO2 should be coupled to visible light absorbing materials. This dissertation presents a simple approach to synthesize and couple chalcogenide nanocrystals with TiO2 nanostructure to form a heterostructured composite. An atmospheric pressure based, single precursor, one-pot approach has been developed and tested to assemble chalcogenide nanocrystal on the TiO2 surface. Surface characterization using microscopy, X-ray diffraction, and elemental analysis indicates the formation of nanocrystals along the nanotube walls and inter-tubular spacing. Optical measurements indicate that the chalcogenide nanocrystals absorb in the visible region and demonstrate an increase in photocurrent in comparison to bare TiO2 nanostructure. The CdS synthesized TiO2 nanostructure produced the highest photocurrent as measured in the three electrodesystem. We have also assembled the PbS nanocrystal sensitized photoanode using the one pot method.Finally, the charge transportation effect of carbon allotropes has been studied. For this we assembled TiO2 conductive carbon chalcogenide nanocomposite system. Surface and elemental characterization using electron microscopy, EDX (energy dispersive x-ray) and x-ray diffraction pattern, provide the insights into the assembly of the nanostructure. Optical absorbance, Photo chronometry, Linear sweep voltammetry, and electrochemical impedance analysis have been used to provide opto-electronic performance of the material. We have studied the loading effect of various carbon allotropes, [fullerene (C60), reduced graphene oxide (RGO), carbon nanotubes (CNTs), and graphene quantum dots (GQDs)], loading effect of chalcogenide, and effect of nitrogen doping on the carbon allotropes to optimize the performance of the heterostructure.This dissertation is expected to impact the materials synthesis strategies and assemble the nanostructures used in composite electrode driven applications in the area of photo electrochemistry, PV, solar-fuels, and other associated topics of energy storage and sensing.