Promoting photocarrier separation for photoelectrochemical water splitting in α-Fe2O3@C

  • Jiajia Cai
  • Hao Chen
  • Shilei Ding
  • Qian XieEmail author
Research Paper


Core-shell-nanostructured hematite@graphite (α-Fe2O3@C) for photoelectrochemical (PEC) water splitting was innovatively prepared from graphite-encapsulated iron (Fe@C) nanoparticles by the arc-discharge method. The graphite was successfully controlled from dozens to few layers, and Fe was transformed into α-Fe2O3 with particle size of 20–30 nm during the thermal oxidation. α-Fe2O3@C was characterized by X-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and Raman spectroscopy techniques. The photocurrent density of α-Fe2O3@C reached a maximum of 20 μA/cm2 at 1.23 VRHE when there were 2–3 layers of graphite and the film thickness was 200 nm. Herein, graphite was proven to play the key role in coupling between light blocking and enhanced photocarrier separation rather than changing the density of the oxygen vacancies. The addition of graphite layers enhanced the photocurrent density by 20 times compared with that of the bare α-Fe2O3 particle film derived from the hydrothermal method, which was further demonstrated by electrochemical impedance spectra (EIS).


Core-shell α-Fe2O3@C Photoelectrochemistry Water splitting Charge separation 


Funding information

This work was supported by the Research Foundation of Young Teachers in Anhui University of Technology (QZ201720 and QZ201605), University Natural Science Research Project of Anhui Province (KJ2018A0055), and the Joint Funds of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (U1860201), Anhui Provincial Natural Science Foundation (1908085QE179, 1908085QE192).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare they have no conflicts of interest.

Supplementary material

11051_2019_4592_MOESM1_ESM.docx (1.1 mb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 1146 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Energy and EnvironmentAnhui University of TechnologyMa’anshanChina
  2. 2.School of Metallurgic EngineeringAnhui University of TechnologyMa’anshanChina

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