Synthesis and Characterization of Transition Metal Oxide Nanotubes for Photoelectrochemical Hydrogen Generation
AuthorRangaraju, Raghu Raj
Mining and Metallurgical Engineering
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Two different configurations of photo anodes based on anodic iron oxide were investigated for photo electrochemical water oxidation. Self ordered and vertically oriented array of iron oxide nanotubes was obtained by anodization of pure iron substrate in ethylene glycol based electrolyte containing 0.1 M NH4F + 3 vol% water (EGWF solution) at 50 V for 15 minutes. Annealing of the oxide nanotubes in hydrogen environment at 500 ºC for 1 h resulted in predominantly hematite phase. The second type of photo anode was obtained by a two-step anodization procedure. This process resulted in a two- layered oxide structure, a top layer of nano-dendrite morphology and a bottom layer of nanoporous morphology. This electrode configuration combined the better photo catalytic properties of the nano-dendritic iron oxide and better electron transportation behavior of vertically oriented nano-channels. Annealing of these double anodized samples in acetylene environment at 550 ºC for 10 minutes resulted in a mixture of maghemite and hematite phases. Photo current densities of 0.74 mA/cm2 at 0.2 VAg/AgCl and 1.8 mA/cm2 at 0.5 VAg/AgCl were obtained under AM 1.5 illumination in 1 M KOH solution. The double anodized samples showed high photo conductivity and more negative flat band potential (-0.8 VAg/AgCl), which are the properties required for promising photo anode materials. Apart from the above work, mild steel which is 10 times less the cost of Ti is also being tested for its photoelectrochemical properties. TiO2 nanotubes synthesized and annealed in different conditions are compared for their quantum efficiency is also carried out in this work. Quantum efficiency measurements gives more reliable and photocurrent data towards photoelectrochemical applications.