Significantly Enhanced Visible Light Photoelectrochemical Activity in TiO2 Nanowire Arrays by Nitrogen Implantation
G. Wang, X. Xiao, W. Li, Z. Lin, Z. Zhao, C. Chen, C. Wang, Y. Li, X. Huang, L. Miao, C. Jiang, Y. Huang, and X. Duan
Nano Lett. 15, 4241-4844 (2015)
Titanium oxide (TiO2) represents one of most widely studied materials for photoelectrochemical (PEC) water splitting but is severely limited by its poor efficiency in the visible light range. Here, we report a significant enhancement of visible light photoactivity in nitrogen-implanted TiO2 (N-TiO2) nanowire arrays. Our systematic studies show that a post-implantation thermal annealing treatment can selectively enrich the substitutional nitrogen dopants, which is essential for activating the nitrogen implanted TiO2 to achieve greatly enhanced visible light photoactivity. An incident photon to electron conversion efficiency (IPCE) of ∼10% is achieved at 450 nm in N-TiO2 without any other cocatalyst, far exceeding that in pristine TiO2 nanowires (∼0.2%). The integration of oxygen evolution reaction (OER) cocatalyst with N-TiO2 can further increase the IPCE at 450 nm to ∼17% and deliver an unprecedented overall photocurrent density of 1.9 mA/cm2, by integrating the IPCE spectrum with standard AM 1.5G solar spectrum. Systematic photoelectrochemical and electrochemical studies demonstrated that the enhanced PEC performance can be attributed to the significantly improved visible light absorption and more efficient charge separation. Our studies demonstrate the implantation approach can be used to reliably dope TiO2 to achieve the best performed N-TiO2 photoelectrodes to date and may be extended to fundamentally modify other semiconductor materials for PEC water splitting.