Influence of Sb5+ as a Double Donor on Hematite (Fe3+) Photoanodes for Surface-Enhanced Photoelectrochemical Water Oxidation
We report the production of antimony (Sb5+) doped hematite photoanodes by a simple ex situ method. The Sb5+ dopant acts as effective electron donor, reduces recombination effects and improves the surface wettability. In addition, the presence of Sb5+ states in Sb-doped Fe2O3 photoanodes exhibit a 10-fold increase in carrier concentration and decreased photoanode/electrolyte charge transfer resistance.
A. Annamalai, R. Sandström, E. Gracia-Espino, N. Boulanger, J.-F. Boily, I. Mühlbacher, A. Shchukarev, T. Wågberg. ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces.
To exploit the full potential of hematite (α-Fe2O3) as an efficient photoanode for water oxidation, the redox processes occurring at the Fe2O3/electrolyte interface need to be studied in greater detail. Ex situ doping is an excellent technique to introduce dopants onto the photoanode surface and to modify the photoanode/electrolyte interface. In this context, we selected antimony (Sb5+) as the ex situ dopant because it is an effective electron donor and reduces recombination effects and concurrently utilize the possibility to tuning the surface charge and wettability. In the presence of Sb5+ states in Sb-doped Fe2O3 photoanodes, as confirmed by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, we observed a 10-fold increase in carrier concentration (1.1 × 1020 vs 1.3 × 1019 cm–3) and decreased photoanode/electrolyte charge transfer resistance (∼990 vs ∼3700 Ω). Furthermore, a broad range of surface characterization techniques such as Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy, ζ-potential, and contact angle measurements reveal that changes in the surface hydroxyl groups following the ex situ doping also have an effect on the water splitting capability. Theoretical calculations suggest that Sb5+ can activate multiple Fe3+ ions simultaneously, in addition to increasing the surface charge and enhancing the electron/hole transport properties. To a greater extent, the Sb5+- surface-doped determines the interfacial properties of electrochemical charge transfer, leading to an efficient water oxidation mechanism.
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