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CdS nanoparticles sensitization of Al-doped ZnO nanorod array thin film with hydrogen treatment as an ITO/FTO-free photoanode for solar water splitting

Chih-Hsiung Hsu1 and Dong-Hwang Chen12*

Author affiliations

1 Department of Chemical Engineering, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan 701, Republic of China

2 Research Center for Energy Technology and Strategy, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan 701, Republic of China

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Citation and License

Nanoscale Research Letters 2012, 7:593  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-7-593

Published: 25 October 2012

Abstract

Aluminum-doped zinc oxide (AZO) nanorod array thin film with hydrogen treatment possesses the functions of transparent conducting oxide thin film and 1-D nanostructured semiconductor simultaneously. To enhance the absorption in the visible light region, it is sensitized by cadmium sulfide (CdS) nanoparticles which efficiently increase the absorption around 460 nm. The CdS nanoparticles-sensitized AZO nanorod array thin film with hydrogen treatment exhibits significantly improved photoelectrochemical property. After further heat treatment, a maximum short current density of 5.03 mA cm−2 is obtained under illumination. They not only are much higher than those without CdS nanoparticles sensitization and those without Al-doping and/or hydrogen treatment, but also comparable and even slightly superior to some earlier works for the CdS-sensitized zinc oxide nanorod array thin films with indium tin oxide (ITO) or fluorine-doped tin oxide (FTO) as substrates. This demonstrated successfully that the AZO nanorod array thin film with hydrogen treatment is quite suitable as an ITO/FTO-free photoanode and has great potentials in solar water splitting after sensitization by quantum dots capable of visible light absorption.

Keywords:
Al-doped ZnO nanorod thin film; Hydrogen treatment; CdS nanoparticles; ITO/FTO-free; Photoelectrode; Solar water splitting