Effects of PEG templating of spray-pyrolyzed TiO2 films on their nanoscale roughness and eventual photoelectrochemical properties

Muhammad Ibadurrohman, Klaus Hellgardt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This paper reports the effects of polyethylene glycol (PEG) as a morphological template for spray-pyrolyzed TiO2 films. The virtues of PEG-modified TiO2 films as photoanodes in a photoelectrochemical (PEC) water splitting system are determined by the formation of nano-sized roughness, which is proposed to be originated from the role of PEG in controlling polycondensation of TiO2 precursor and segregating seed growth. Results in this paper, combined with those we reported earlier, show that the concentration of PEG in precursor solutions is more important than its molecular weight in enhancing the morphology of the resultant films and their eventual PEC properties. Based on PEC assessments, critical concentrations of PEG were found in the range of 25–50 mM, where nano-sized features are optimally developed and uniformly distributed across the surface. The best rough-surface TiO2 in this study managed to achieve PEC efficiency of as high as 1.23% and charge-transfer resistance of as low as 2.4 kΩ at − 0.7 V vs HgO|Hg, remarkably superior to the smooth-surface unmodified film with 0.40% efficiency and nearly 19 kΩ charge-transfer resistance at the same applied potential. Graphical abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.] Controlled PEG templating leads to distinct characteristics of nanoscale roughness of spray-pyrolized TiO2 films, which drive their eventual photoelectrochemical output.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)929-940
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Applied Electrochemistry
Volume52
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 23 Feb 2022

Keywords

  • Photoanode
  • Polyethylene glycol
  • Roughness
  • TiO
  • Water splitting

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