Commenced in January 2007
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Edition: International
Paper Count: 2

Photoelectrochemical Cells Related Abstracts

2 Electrochemical and Photoelectrochemical Study of Polybithiophene–MnO2 Composite Films

Authors: H. Zouaoui, D. Abdi, B. Nessark, F. Habelhames, A. Bahloul

Abstract:

Among the conjugated organic polymers, the polythiophenes constitute a particularly important class of conjugated polymers, which has been extensively studied for the relation between the geometrical structure and the optic and electronic properties, while the polythiophene is an intractable material. They are, furthermore, chemically and thermally stable materials, and are very attractive for exploitation of their physical properties. The polythiophenes are extensively studied due to the possibility of synthesizing low band gap materials by using substituted thiophenes as precursors. Low band gap polymers may convert visible light into electricity and some photoelectrochemical cells based on these materials have been prepared. Polythiophenes (PThs) are good candidates for polymer optoelectronic devices such as polymer solar cells (PSCs) polymer light-emitting diodes (PLEDs) field-effect transistors (FETs) electrochromics and biosensors. In this work, MnO2 has been synthesized by hydrothermal method and analyzed by infrared spectroscopy. The polybithiophene+MnO2 composite films were electrochemically prepared by cyclic voltammetry technic on a conductor glass substrate ITO (indium–tin-oxide). The composite films are characterized by cyclic voltammetry, impedance spectroscopy and photoelectrochemical analyses. The results confirmed the presence of manganese dioxide nanoparticles in the polymer layer. An application has been made by using these deposits as an electrode in a photoelectrochemical cell for measuring photocurrent tests. The composite films show a significant photocurrent intensity 80 μA.cm-2.

Keywords: Photoelectrochemical Cells, MnO2, polybithiophene, composite films

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1 Synthesis and Characterization of High-Aspect-Ratio Hematite Nanostructures for Solar Water Splitting

Authors: Paula Quiterio, Arlete Apolinario, Celia T. Sousa, Joao Azevedo, Paula Dias, Adelio Mendes, Joao P. Araujo

Abstract:

Nowadays one of the mankind's greatest challenges has been the supply of low-cost and environmentally friendly energy sources as an alternative to non-renewable fossil fuels. Hydrogen has been considered a promising solution, representing a clean and low-cost fuel. It can be produced directly from clean and abundant resources, such as sunlight and water, using photoelectrochemical cells (PECs), in a process that mimics the nature´s photosynthesis. Hematite (alpha-Fe2O3) has attracted considerable attention as a promising photoanode for solar water splitting, due to its high chemical stability, nontoxicity, availability and low band gap (2.2 eV), which allows reaching a high thermodynamic solar-to-hydrogen efficiency of 16.8 %. However, the main drawbacks of hematite such as the short hole diffusion length and the poor conductivity that lead to high electron-hole recombination result in significant PEC efficiency losses. One strategy to overcome these limitations and to increase the PEC efficiency is to use 1D nanostructures, such as nanotubes (NTs) and nanowires (NWs), which present high aspect ratios and large surface areas providing direct pathways for electron transport up to the charge collector and minimizing the recombination losses. In particular, due to the ultrathin walls of the NTs, the holes can reach the surface faster than in other nanostructures, representing a key factor for the NTs photoresponse. In this work, we prepared hematite NWs and NTs, respectively by hydrothermal process and electrochemical anodization. For hematite NWs growing, we studied the effect of variable hydrothermal conditions, different annealing temperatures and time, and the use of Ti and Sn dopants on the morphology and PEC performance. The crystalline phase characterization by X-ray diffraction was crucial to distinguish the formation of hematite and other iron oxide phases, alongside its effect on the photoanodes conductivity and consequent PEC efficiency. The conductivity of the as-prepared NWs is very low, in the order of 10-5 S cm-1, but after doping and annealing optimization it increased by a factor of 105. A high photocurrent density of 1.02 mA cm-2 at 1.45 VRHE was obtained under simulated sunlight, which is a very promising value for this kind of hematite nanostructures. The stability of the photoelectrodes was also tested, presenting good stability after several J-V measurements over time. The NTs, synthesized by fast anodizations with potentials ranging from 20-100 V, presented a linear growth of the NTs pore walls, with very low thicknesses from 10 - 18 nm. These preliminary results are also very promising for the use of hematite photoelectrodes on PEC hydrogen applications.

Keywords: nanotubes, nanowires, Photoelectrochemical Cells, hematite

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