ABSTRACT: We demonstrate for the first time the controlled Sn-doping in TiO(2) nanowire (NW) arrays for photoelectrochemical (PEC) water splitting. Because of the low lattice mismatch between SnO(2) and TiO(2), Sn dopants are incorporated into TiO(2) NWs by a one-pot hydrothermal synthesis with different ratios of SnCl(4) and tetrabutyl titanate, and a high acidity of the reactant solution is critical to control the SnCl(4) hydrolysis rate. The obtained Sn-doped TiO(2) (Sn/TiO(2)) NWs are single crystalline with a rutile structure, and the incorporation of Sn in TiO(2) NWs is well controlled at a low level, that is, 1-2% of Sn/Ti ratio, to avoid phase separation or interface scattering. PEC measurement on Sn/TiO(2) NW photoanodes with different Sn doping ratios shows that the photocurrent increases first with increased Sn doping level to >2.0 mA/cm(2) at 0 V vs Ag/AgCl under 100 mW/cm(2) simulated sunlight illumination up to ~100% enhancement compared to our best pristine TiO(2) NW photoanodes and then decreases at higher Sn doping levels. Subsequent annealing of Sn/TiO(2) NWs in H(2) further improves their photoactivity with an optimized photoconversion efficiency of ~1.2%. The incident-photon-to-current conversion efficiency shows that the photocurrent increase is mainly ascribed to the enhancement of photoactivity in the UV region, and the electrochemical impedance measurement reveals that the density of n-type charge carriers can be significantly increased by the Sn doping. These Sn/TiO(2) NW photoanodes are highly stable in PEC conversion and thus can serve as a potential candidate for pure TiO(2) materials in a variety of solar energy driven applications.
Nano Letters 02/2012; 12(3):1503-8. · 13.20 Impact Factor