Manipulating solar absorption and electron transport properties of rutile TiO2 photocatalysts via highly n-type F-doping
In this work, we report a facile and nontoxic one-pot hydrothermal method for synthesizing F-doped rutile single crystalline TiO2 with tuneable solar absorption. The optical band gap of the catalyst can be easily manipulated from 3.05 to 2.58 eV via altering the initial F:Ti molar ratio of reaction precursors. The photoanodes made of rutile TiO2 single crystals with appropriate F-doping concentration show excellent photoelectrocatalytic activity towards water oxidation under ultraviolet and visible light illumination. The best photoelectrocatalytic performance under UV irradiation can be obtained by F-doped TiO2 with an initial F:Ti molar ratio of 0.1, which is almost 15 times higher than that of un-doped TiO2. Further, the F-doped TiO2 photoanodes also exhibit superior photoelectrocatalytic activity under visible irradiation, and the best performance can be achieved by F-doped TiO2 photoanode with an initial F:Ti molar ratio of 0.05. The superior photoelectrocatalytic activity could be attributed to the highly n-type dopant introduced by fluorine, which significantly tunes the electrical conductivities and band structures of the resulting TiO2 photoanodes, and thus the photoelectrocatalytic activities under both UV and visible irradiation. Different techniques have been employed to characterize the electrical conductivity, charge carrier density and band structures of the F-doped rutile TiO2 films, such as photoelectrochemical method, electrical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) measurements, Mott-Schottky plots and XPS valence band spectra.