The photoelectrochemical (PEC) water-splitting efficiency of a hematite-based photoanode is still far from the theoretical value due to its poor surface reaction kinetics and high density of surface trapping states. To solve these drawbacks, a photoanode consisting of NiO nanoparticles anchored on a gradient phosphorus-doped α-Fe2 O3 nanorod (NR) array (NiO/P-α-Fe2 O3) was fabricated to achieve optimal light absorption and charge separation, as well as rapid surface reaction kinetics. Specifically, a photoanode with the NR array structure allowed a high mass-transport rate to be achieved, while phosphorus doping effectively decreased the number of surface trapping sites and improved the electrical conductivity of α-Fe2O3. Furthermore, the p–n junction that forms between NiO and P-α-Fe2O3 can further improve the PEC performance due to efficient hole extraction and the water oxidization catalytic activity of NiO. Consequently, the NiO/P-α-Fe2 O3 NR photoanode produced a high photocurrent density of 2.08 mAcm2 at 1.23 V versus a reversible hydrogen electrode and a 110 mV cathodic shift of the onset potential. This rational design of structure offers a new perspective in exploring high-performance PEC photoano-des.
- Water splitting