Enhanced Performance of Pristine Ta3N5 Photoanodes for Solar Water Splitting by Modification with Fe–Ni–Co Mixed-Metal Oxide Cocatalysts

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Center for Chemical Energy Conversion Research and Institute of Science and Technology Research, Chubu University, Kasugai, Aichi 487-8501, Japan
Department of Engineering Mathematics and Physics, Faculty of Engineering, Fayoum University, Fayoum, Egypt
§ Faculty of Science, Tanta University, Tanta, Egypt
JST ACT-C, Kawaguchi, Saitama 332-0012, Japan
Cite this: J. Phys. Chem. C 2017, 121, 37, 20093–20100
Publication Date (Web):August 29, 2017
Copyright © 2017 American Chemical Society
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Solar water splitting is an alternative way of clean and sustainable hydrogen production. Tantalum nitride (Ta3N5) is one of the promising candidates that recently attracted a great amount of attention as photoelectrodes for solar water splitting. Nevertheless, it suffers severely from photocorrosion in an aqueous solution. Therefore, the precise selection of a cocatalyst, in terms of the material, the amount, and the way of its deposition, is indispensable to highly improve its water splitting performance. In the present work, we introduce a Fe–Ni–Co mixed-metal oxide as a water oxidation cocatalyst that remarkably improved the photocurrent and photostability of the pristine Ta3N5 photoanode. The cocatalyst-modified electrode showed a photocurrent of about 4.0 mA cm–2 at 1.23 V vs RHE in 1 M NaOH. The electrode maintained 100% and 96% of the initial photocurrent after irradiation times of 1 and 2 h, respectively. In addition, a continuous evolution of hydrogen and oxygen occurred for 2 h at quantitative Faraday efficiencies (>96%). This photostability is superior compared to that of the other single-layer modified Ta3N5 photoanodes reported so far. It is noteworthy that the anodic spark deposition is used to fabricate precursor electrodes (NaTaO3), which then were converted to Ta3N5 by nitridation in an ammonia atmosphere.

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The Supporting Information is available free of charge on the ACS Publications website at DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpcc.7b04403.

  • XRD and optimization of the deposition condition (NaOH electrolyte concentration and the deposition time) of the precursor NaTaO3 electrode, the optimization of the FeNiCoOx deposition parameters (sweep voltage and the number of deposition cycles), and the PEC properties of the Ta3N5 loaded with different combinations of (Fe, Ni, Co)-based cocatalyst were demonstrated and XPS studies of cocatalysts deposited at different conditions (PDF)

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