Black titania, with greatly improved solar absorption, has demonstrated its effectiveness in photocatalysis and photoelectrochemical cells (PEC), inspiring us to explore the blackening of other wide band-gap oxide materials for enhanced performance. Herein, we report the fabrication of black, reduced Nb2O5 nanorods (r-Nb2O5), with active exposed (001) surfaces, and their enhanced photocatalytic and PEC properties. Black r-Nb2O5 nanorods were obtained via reduction of pristine Nb2O5 by molten aluminum in a two-zone furnace. Unlike the black titania, r-Nb2O5 nanorods are well-crystallized, without a core-shell structure, which makes them outstanding in photocatalytic stability. Substantial Nb4+ cation and oxygen vacancies (VO) were introduced into r-Nb2O5, resulting in the enhanced absorption in both the visible and near-infrared regions and improved charge separation and transport capability. The advantage of the r-Nb2O5 was also proved by its more efficient photoelectrochemical performance (138 times at 1.23 VRHE) and higher photocatalytic hydrogen-generation activity (13 times) than pristine Nb2O5. These results indicate that black r-Nb2O5 is a promising material for PEC application and photocatalysis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Inorganic Chemistry