Studies of the photocatalytic and electrochemical performance of the Fe 2 O 3 /TiO 2 heteronanostructure

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Studies of the photocatalytic and electrochemical performance of the ­Fe2O3/TiO2 heteronanostructure Abdelhak Othmani2 · Salah Kouass1   · Thamer Khalfi3 · Sabrine Bourchada4 · Fathi Touati3 · Hassouna Dhaouadi3 Received: 25 March 2020 / Accepted: 29 June 2020 © Iranian Chemical Society 2020

Abstract The α-Fe2O3/TiO2 nanostructure material, synthesized on FTO (fluorine-doped tin oxide) substrate using the hydrothermal method at 180 °C for 5 h, exhibits an enhanced performance in the photocatalytic degradation of an organic dye. The optical band gap was found to decrease compared to the T ­ iO2 one. The photocatalytic performances of the as-prepared heterojunction were evaluated with the degradation of methylene blue (MB) in an aqueous medium. The results revealed that the photocatalytic activity of the ­Fe2O3/TiO2/FTO was much higher than that of the pure T ­ iO2. In addition, the photocurrent of the ­Fe2O3/TiO2/FTO heterojunction was remarkably higher than that of the bare T ­ iO2 electrode. The obtained results indicate that the heterojunction formed between ­Fe2O3 and T ­ iO2significantly improved the separation efficiency of the photo-generated electron–hole pairs. The electrochemical properties of the as-synthesized nanocomposite materials (α-Fe2O3/TiO2) were also evaluated with cyclic voltammetry for 1000 cycles. This nanocomposite exhibited an enhanced specific discharge capacity compared to the ­Fe2O3 nanomaterial. The as-produced material proved to have an impressive performance as a high-capacity anode for ­Na+-ion batteries. Keywords  Nanocomposite · Heterojunction · Photocatalytic properties · Electrochemical properties

Introduction Green energy sources have been extensively investigated in an attempt to replace fossil fuels, which have inherent pollution problems, and given the limited availability of resources [1]. In particular, the photocatalytic conversion of solar energy into chemical energy or into hydrocarbon fuels has been of great significance in environmental conservation and energy utilization [2, 3]. Over the last few decades, much attention has been paid to the production * Salah Kouass [email protected] 1

Laboratoire des Matériaux Utiles, INRAP Sidi-Thabet, 2020 Tunis, Tunisia


Faculté des Sciences de Bizerte, LR01 ES15, Laboratoire de Physique des Matériaux: Structure et Propriétés, Université de Carthage, Faculté des Sciences de Bizerte, 7021 Zarzouna, Bizerte, Tunisia


Laboratoire Matériaux, Traitement et Analyses, INRAP, Technopole Sidi‑Thabet, Ariana Tunis, Tunisia


Laboratoire de Chimie des Matériaux, Faculté des Sciences de Bizerte, 7021 Zarzouna, Bizerte, Tunisia

of various photocatalysts such as: ­TiO2 [4], Au/ZnO [5], ­C3N3S3 [6] and M ­ oS2 [7]. Titanium dioxide (­ TiO2) is one of the most commonly used photocatalysts given its efficiency in pollutant degradation in waste water, and also because of its inexpensiveness, strong oxidizing power, hard-soluble and long-term photostability [4]. However, its wide band gap requires excitation wit