Efficient Photochemical Water Splitting by a Chemically Modified n-TiO2

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Science  27 Sep 2002:
Vol. 297, Issue 5590, pp. 2243-2245
DOI: 10.1126/science.1075035

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Although n-type titanium dioxide (TiO2) is a promising substrate for photogeneration of hydrogen from water, most attempts at doping this material so that it absorbs light in the visible region of the solar spectrum have met with limited success. We synthesized a chemically modified n-type TiO2 by controlled combustion of Ti metal in a natural gas flame. This material, in which carbon substitutes for some of the lattice oxygen atoms, absorbs light at wavelengths below 535 nanometers and has a lower band-gap energy than rutile (2.32 versus 3.00 electron volts). At an applied potential of 0.3 volt, chemically modified n-type TiO2 performs water splitting with a total conversion efficiency of 11% and a maximum photoconversion efficiency of 8.35% when illuminated at 40 milliwatts per square centimeter. The latter value compares favorably with a maximum photoconversion efficiency of 1% for n-type TiO2biased at 0.6 volt.

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