This paper is intended to highlight the importance of surface roughness of TiO2 photoanodes in a photoelectrochemical (PEC) cell with and without sacrificial agents. TiO2 films were synthesized via a spray pyrolysis method in the presence of PEG200 as a surface-roughening agent. The rough-surface photoanode led to excellent photo-voltammetric output by doubling the limiting photocurrent of its smooth-surface counterpart (from 0.11 mA/cm2 to 0.23 mA/cm2 at 0.8 V vs HgO|Hg). The function of glycerol as an anodic sacrificial agent is also exploited more effectively in the use of rough-surface TiO2. When the smooth-surface TiO2 is used, the presence of glycerol promotes additional photocurrent densities of as low as 0.037 mA/cm2 and 0.043 mA/cm2 at −0.7 V vs HgO|Hg and at 0.8 V vs HgO|Hg, respectively. At the same respective potentials, the use of rough-surface TiO2 gives rise to remarkably higher additional photocurrent density of 0.16 mA/cm2 and 0.11 mA/cm2 – favoring less anodic potential, that is. Hence, we conclude that surface roughening of the photoanode is an effective, albeit simple, strategy to significantly improve PEC responses and make the most use of anodic sacrificial agents.
- Photoelectrochemical properties
- Sacrificial agents
- Spray pyrolysis
- Surface morphology
- Titanium dioxide