Oxygen evolution is kinetically the key step in the photocatalytic water splitting, but it is negatively affected by the poor charge transport properties. However, this can be modified by the loading of cocatalysts on the surface of a semiconductor which could form heterojunctions to boost the charge separation and lower the activation potential for O2 evolution. In this paper we demonstrate that the poor O2 evolution activity of photocatalytic water splitting of the multiferroics BiFeO3 can be enhanced when a proper cocatalyst like IrO2 nanoparticles are deposited on the surface and proper electron scavenger is used. The choice of the persulfate, S2O8 as electron scavenger is influenced by its high redox potential and its close position to the valence band of BiFeO3 compared to other commonly used scavengers. Another interesting information was revealed by using transient absorption spectroscopy under different environment namely, inert, oxidizing and reducing. The absorption peak of holes was identified and correlated to the strong absorption around 560 nm The hole absorption peak showed a 50% decrease in the absorption intensity after 2.5 μsec indicating that holes are captured by IrO2 nanoparticles on the surface. O2 evolution of multiferroics, especially BiFeO3 has been less investigated. Therefore, the development of efficient photocatalytic materials has relied on both photocatalysts and cocatalysts. Identification of the photogenerated charge absorption peak from transient absorption spectra facilitate the evaluation of the IrO2 loading effect on the charge separation and the overall O2 evolution process.
Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films
- IrO2 cocatalyst
- Molecular oxygen evolution
- Transient absorption spectroscopy