All-solid-state formation of titania nanotube arrays and their application in photoelectrochemical water splitting
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The present work demonstrates for the first time the facile fabrication of TiO2 nanotube arrays (TNTAs) by a fluoride-free solid-state anodization process using LiClO4 containing solid polymeric electrolyte. The resulting nanotubes were tested for photoelectrochemical water splitting. The elimination of liquid electrolytes in electrochemical anodization constitutes a paradigm shift for the formation of nanoporous and nanotubular metal oxides. Our results open a new area of research that uses the distinctive properties of solid polymer electrolytes to achieve targeted doping and nano-morphologies. Characterization of the grown TNTAs indicated solid state anodized TNTAs to consist purely of the anatase phase of titania. The solid-state anodization process provides several advantages over conventional liquid electrolytes such as easy handling and processing, better charge transport, environmentally benign chemicals and methodology. Photoelectrochemical water splitting experiments were performed which confirmed the viability of TNTAs grown by the new solid-state process for photocatalytic applications.
The authors thank the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC, Grant No. 06630), Future Energy Systems (Grant No. T12-P002), the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI, Grant No. 24661), and CMC Microsystems (Grant No. 5824) for direct and indirect (equipment use) financial support. We acknowledge the UofA Nanofab and staff therein, and the National Research Council-National Institute for Nanotechnology (NRC-NINT) (particularly Dr. Kai Cui) for use of characterization facilities and assistance with instrument use.
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