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Ta3N5 nanotube arrays for visible light water photoelectrolysis.


PMID 20146505

Abstract

Tantalum nitride (Ta3N5) has a band gap of approximately 2.07 eV, suitable for collecting more than 45% of the incident solar spectrum energy. We describe a simple method for scale fabrication of highly oriented Ta3N5 nanotube array films, by anodization of tantalum foil to achieve vertically oriented tantalum oxide nanotube arrays followed by a 700 degrees C ammonia anneal for sample crystallization and nitridation. The thin walled amorphous nanotube array structure enables transformation from tantalum oxide to Ta3N5 to occur at relatively low temperatures, while high-temperature annealing related structural aggregation that commonly occurs in particle films is avoided. In 1 M KOH solution, under AM 1.5 illumination with 0.5 V dc bias typical sample (nanotube length approximately 240 nm, wall thickness approximately 7 nm) visible light incident photon conversion efficiencies (IPCE) as high as 5.3% were obtained. The enhanced visible light activity in combination with the ordered one-dimensional nanoarchitecture makes Ta3N5 nanotube arrays films a promising candidate for visible light water photoelectrolysis.

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