This paper describes a novel design of high-efficiency photoelectrochemical water splitting electrode, i.e., ordered TiO2 nanorod arrays (NRs) sensitized simultaneously with noble metal (Ag), binary metal sulfides (Ag2S) and ternary metal sulfides (Ag3CuS2) multiple photosensitizers for the first time. The TiO2/Ag/Ag2S/Ag3CuS2 NRs heterostructure is successfully synthesized through successive ion layer adsorption and reaction (SILAR) and a simple ion-exchange process based on ionic reaction mechanism. On the basis of an optimal quantity of Ag, Ag2S and Ag3CuS2 nanoparticles, such TiO2/Ag/Ag2S/Ag3CuS2 NRs exhibit a higher photoelectrochemical activity ever reported for TiO2-based nanoarrays in PEC water splitting, the photocurrent density is up to 9.82 mA cm-2 at 0.47 V versus Ag/AgCl, respectively. This novel architecture is able to increase electron collection efficiency and suppress carrier recombination via (i) a higher efficiency of light-harvesting through these multiple photosensitizers (Ag, Ag2S and Ag3CuS2); (ii) the efficient separation of photo-induced electrons and holes due to the direct electrical pathways; (iii) the surface plasmon resonance (SPR) effect of Ag nanoparticles, which enhances the efficient charge separation and high carrier mobility. This work is useful to explore feasible routes to further enhance the performance of oxide semiconductors for PEC water splitting to produce clean H2 energy.
- Multiple photosensitizers
- Photoelectrochemical water splitting
- Plasmonic silver