Titania nanotube (TNT)-array thin films well decorated by copper nanoparticles with average size of 3 nm were prepared by spray coating of a solution containing size-controlled Cu0 nanoparticles. The consecutive calcination at 300 °C and 450 °C leads to the oxidation of these Cu NPs to CuO, with small amounts of Cu2O at the lower calcination temperature, but maintaining the high dispersion. Analogous materials prepared by copper electrodeposition lead to significantly larger Cu NPs. The TNT-array thin film shows significantly enhanced photocurrent (up to about 90%) with respect to a comparable thin film prepared by spin coating using a commercial TiO2 P25 sample. The behavior is similar by applying different filters to cut part of solar light simulator radiation. Particularly, using an UV B/C blocking filter, which permits to pass light in the 350–550 nm range, an about two-fold intensification in the current-to-electrical energy conversion (normalized to the same total irradiance) is obtained. The presence of CuO nanoparticles decreases the photocurrent density with respect to the support alone (TNT-array 1h), but enhances the H2 photogeneration rate in the gas-phase photoreactor experiments. The results indicate that in the tested experimental conditions, the main role of CuO nanoparticles is to act as co-catalyst to improve the H2 photogeneration rate rather than to promote charge separation or other effects, which promote the photocurrent density.

Development of photoanodes for photoelectrocatalytic solar cells based on copper-based nanoparticles on titania thin films of vertically aligned nanotubes

Tavella F
Primo
;
Ampelli C
Secondo
;
Frusteri L
;
Frusteri F;Perathoner S
Penultimo
;
Centi G
Ultimo
2018-01-01

Abstract

Titania nanotube (TNT)-array thin films well decorated by copper nanoparticles with average size of 3 nm were prepared by spray coating of a solution containing size-controlled Cu0 nanoparticles. The consecutive calcination at 300 °C and 450 °C leads to the oxidation of these Cu NPs to CuO, with small amounts of Cu2O at the lower calcination temperature, but maintaining the high dispersion. Analogous materials prepared by copper electrodeposition lead to significantly larger Cu NPs. The TNT-array thin film shows significantly enhanced photocurrent (up to about 90%) with respect to a comparable thin film prepared by spin coating using a commercial TiO2 P25 sample. The behavior is similar by applying different filters to cut part of solar light simulator radiation. Particularly, using an UV B/C blocking filter, which permits to pass light in the 350–550 nm range, an about two-fold intensification in the current-to-electrical energy conversion (normalized to the same total irradiance) is obtained. The presence of CuO nanoparticles decreases the photocurrent density with respect to the support alone (TNT-array 1h), but enhances the H2 photogeneration rate in the gas-phase photoreactor experiments. The results indicate that in the tested experimental conditions, the main role of CuO nanoparticles is to act as co-catalyst to improve the H2 photogeneration rate rather than to promote charge separation or other effects, which promote the photocurrent density.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11570/3120764
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