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Electrochemically hydrogenated TiO2 nanotubes with improved photoelectrochemical water splitting performance

Chen Xu12, Ye Song1, Linfeng Lu2, Chuanwei Cheng3, Dongfang Liu2, Xiaohong Fang2, Xiaoyuan Chen2, Xufei Zhu1* and Dongdong Li2*

Author Affiliations

1 Key Laboratory of Soft Chemistry and Functional Materials of Education Ministry, Nanjing University of Science and Technology, Nanjing 210094, China

2 Shanghai Advanced Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 99 Haike Road, Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park, Pudong, Shanghai 201210, China

3 Shanghai Key Laboratory of Special Artificial Microstructure Materials and Technology & School of Physics Science and Engineering, Tongji University, Shanghai 200092, China

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2013, 8:391  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-8-391

Published: 18 September 2013


One-dimensional anodic titanium oxide (ATO) nanotube arrays hold great potential as photoanode for photoelectrochemical (PEC) water splitting. In this work, we report a facile and eco-friendly electrochemical hydrogenation method to modify the electronic and PEC properties of ATO nanotube films. The hydrogenated ATO (ATO-H) electrodes present a significantly improved photocurrent of 0.65 mA/cm2 in comparison with that of pristine ATO nanotubes (0.29 mA/cm2) recorded under air mass 1.5 global illumination. The incident photon-to-current efficiency measurement suggests that the enhanced photocurrent of ATO-H nanotubes is mainly ascribed to the improved photoactivity in the UV region. We propose that the electrochemical hydrogenation induced surface oxygen vacancies contribute to the substantially enhanced electrical conductivity and photoactivity.

TiO2 nanotubes; Electrochemical reductive doping; Hydrogenation; Photoelectrochemical water splitting