In this study, a ternary nanostructured α-Fe2O3/Au/TiO2 film with integrating a crystalline α-Fe2O3 core, metallic Au nanoparticles (NPs), and an amorphous TiO2 overlayer is fabricated and examined as a photoanode for photoelectrocatalytic water splitting. Under simulated solar illumination, the as-prepared photoanode exhibits a four-fold increase (1.05 mA cm−2) in photocurrent density at 1.23 V versus reversible hydrogen electrode (RHE) relative to bare α-Fe2O3. Based on systematic investigations, it is proposed that Au NPs extract photoholes from the bulk of α-Fe2O3 core and then shuttle them to the outer TiO2 overlayer, and meanwhile, TiO2 overlayer efficiently captures and stores the photoholes and facilitates the hole injection into electrolyte. Thus, the remarkably improved photoelectrocatalytic water splitting performance of α-Fe2O3/Au/TiO2 photoanode is attributed to the significantly suppressed bulk and surface charge recombination due to the relayed pumping of the photogenerated charge carriers through the photoanode/electrolyte interfaces reconstructed by Au NPs and TiO2 overlayer.
- Au nanoparticles
- Photoelectrocatalytic water splitting
- Reconstructed interfaces
- TiO overlayer