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

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ORIGINAL PAPER

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

2



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

3

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

4

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