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TiO2-based nanocomposites with metallic nanostructures on nanobranched substrate for photocatalytic water splitting

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Plasmon-induced photocatalyst has found its application in the clean and renewable energy issue due to its combination of the large absorption and resonance in the visible region for plasmonic nanostructures with the ability of producing the electron-hole pairs in the ultraviolet range for semiconductors (e.g., TiO2). The Schottky barrier at the interface between metals and semiconductors could assist in separating electrons and holes, and increase the photocatalytic efficiency because the Fermi levels of plasmonic metals are lower than semiconductors. Several mechanisms have been proposed for different systems, including plasmonic heating, plasmonic-excited charge transfer, resonant energy transfer, and plasmonic-enhanced scattering, but none could perfectly explain all the phenomena to date [1]. In this study, Au and Ag nanotriangles synthesized by reduction of metal precursor were deposited on the surface of nanobranched TiO2 arrays, which were prepared by hydrothermal methods. The photoactivity enhancement was evaluated using three-electrode system illuminated with the solar simulator. Finite-difference time-domain (FDTD) method was performed to investigate the electric field enhancement at the interface between Au (or Ag) nanoparticles and TiO2 arrays upon illumination.

© 2017 Japan Society of Applied Physics, Optical Society of America

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