SCIENCE CHINA Materials, Volume 61, Issue 6: 887-894(2018) https://doi.org/10.1007/s40843-017-9199-5

A novel CoOOH/(Ti, C)-Fe2O3 nanorod photoanode for photoelectrochemical water splitting

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  • ReceivedOct 29, 2017
  • AcceptedDec 28, 2017
  • PublishedJan 29, 2018


In this work, we demonstrate the CoOOH/(Ti, C)-Fe2O3 (CTCF) nanorods prepared by a facile approach as well as their implementation as photoanodes for photoelectrochemical (PEC) water splitting. The photocurrent density of CTCF photoanode is 1.85 mA cm−2 at +1.23 V vs. reversible hydrogen electrode (RHE), which is more than 20 times higher than that of pristine α-Fe2O3 photoanode (0.08 mA cm−2). The incident-photo-to-current conversion efficiency, applied bias photo-to-current efficiency and transfer efficiency of CTCF photoanode reaches 31.2% at 380 nm (+1.23 V vs. RHE), 0.11% (+1.11 V vs. RHE), 68.2% (+1.23 V vs. RHE) respectively, which are much higher than those of pristine α-Fe2O3 photoanode. Additionally, the longtime irradiation PEC water splitting of CTCF photoanode demonstrates its high stability at extreme voltage in NaOH (pH 14).

Funded by

the National Natural Science Foundation of China(21706295,51772135,21376104)

Natural Science Foundation of Guangdong Province(2017A030313055,2014A030306010)

Jinan University(11617326,88017418)


This work was preliminarily supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (21706295, 51772135 and 21376104), the Natural Science Foundation of Guangdong Province (2017A030313055 and 2014A030306010) and Jinan University (11617326 and 88017418).

Interest statement

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Contributions statement

Ye KH performed the main experiments; Wang Z and Li H participated in the characterization; Ye KH wrote the manuscript with support from Huang Y and Mai W. All authors contributed to the general discussion.

Author information

Kai-Hang Ye received his BSc degree in chemistry from Guangzhou University in 2014, MSc degree in physical chemistry from Jinan University (JNU) in 2017. Currently, he is a PhD student majored in physical chemistry from Sun Yat-Sen University (SYSU). His research interests include photoelectrochemical cell water splitting.

Zilong Wang received his BSc (2010) and MSc (2012) from the School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, SYSU. Then he received his PhD degree in Prof. Shihe Yang’s group in Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. He is now a lecturer in JNU. His current research focuses on nanomaterials and their applications for energy storage and fuel cells.

Yongchao Huang received his BSc degree in chemistry from Huizhou University in 2011, MSc degree in chemistry from JNU in 2013, and PhD degree in chemistry from SYSU. Currently, he is an associate professor at the School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Guangzhou University. His research interests include environmental catalysis, such as photocatalysis and photoelectrochemical catalysis.

Wenjie Mai received his BSc degree in physics (2002) from Peking University (PKU) and PhD degree in materials science and engineering (2009) from Georgia Institute of Technology. He is now a Professor in JNU. His main research interest includes energy conversion, harvesting and storage devices, such as supercapacitors, dye-sensitised solar cells, nanogenerators, and photoelectrochemical water splitting.


Supplementary information

Supporting data are available in the online version of the paper.


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  • Figure 1

    (a) Schematic diagrams for the growth of CoOOH/(Ti, C)-Fe2O3 nanorods photoanode. (b) Top-view and (c) side-view SEM images of CoOOH/(Ti, C)-Fe2O3 nanorods photoanode.

  • Figure 2

    (a) TEM and (b) HRTEM images of the CoOOH/(Ti, C)-Fe2O3 nanorods. (c) HAADF-STEM image of the CoOOH/(Ti, C)-Fe2O3 nanorods, and (d–h) the corresponding STEM-EDS elemental mapping images of Fe, O, C, Ti and Co, respectively.

  • Figure 3

    (a) LSV curves recorded at a scan rate of 25 mV s−1 under AM 1.5G irradiation in Na2SO3 electrolyte with NaOH as a hole scavenger (pH 14); (b) EIS Nyquist plots of the as-prepared samples.

  • Figure 4

    (a) LSV curves recorded at a scan rate of 25 mV s−1 under AM 1.5G irradiation in NaOH electrolyte (pH 14) with no hole scavenger and (b) with Na2SO3 as a hole scavenger. (c) LSV curves recorded at a scan rate of 25 mV s−1 in NaOH electrolyte (pH 14) with no hole scavenger under dark condition. (d) The illustration of PEC water oxidation at the CTCF photoanode.

  • Figure 5

    (a) IPCE and (b) ABPE spectra of the as-prepared photoanodes measured at bias +1.23 V vs. RHE.

  • Figure 6

    (a) Operational stability of the CTCF photoanode. Chronoamperometry (i-t) curve of CTCF collected at +1.23 V vs. RHE under AM 1.5G illumination in NaOH electrolyte (pH 14). Photo images of CTCF photoanode in PEC water splitting system (b), CTCF photoanode (c), Pt cathode (d) and Ag/AgCl reference electrode (e).

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