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Photocatalytic and photoelectrochemical water splitting over ordered titania nanotube arrays

Karslıoğlu, Osman
The objective of this study was to investigate photocatalytic water splitting over ordered TiO2 nanotube arrays. Synthesis of ordered nanotube arrays of titania, as a micron thick film on a titanium foil was accomplished by electrochemical anodization methods defined in the literature. Effect of two types of electrolyte (aqueous and organic) on the micro-morphology was observed by scanning electron microscopy. Optimum anodization times for the TiO2 nanotube electrodes, synthesized in ethylene glycol electrolyte, were different for acidic and basic electrolytes. Optimum times were determined as 2 hours in acidic and 4 hours in basic solutions. An H-type cell was constructed using a two side anodized titanium foil aiming the photocatalytic, stoichiometric and separate evolution of H2/O2 from the splitting of water. Gas evolution was observed at a rate of approximately 1 mL/h in the anode and 0.5 mL/h in the cathode, which implied the reverse of the desired stoichiometry. As the surface was corroded in that experimental conditions, electrochemical properties of the synthesized films were investigated by cyclic voltammetry (CV) at milder conditions. CV showed the reduction of Ti4+ to Ti3+, beginning at -0.2 V (vs. Ag/AgCl). Since the process is accompanied by proton intercalation to the oxide, non-annealed samples showed higher currents in that region. Non-annealed samples showed no photocurrent. Photocurrents obtained in this work, on the average 0.1-0.2 mA/cm2, were one order of magnitude lower than the similar studies in the literature.