Fe2PO5-Encapsulated Reverse Energetic ZnO/Fe2O3 Heterojunction Nanowire for Enhanced Photoelectrochemical Oxidation of Water

Dong Dong Qin, Cai Hua He, Yang Li, Antonio C. Trammel, Jing Gu, Jing Chen, Yong Yan, Duo Liang Shan, Qiu Hong Wang, Jing Jing Quan, Chun Lan Tao, Xiao Quan Lu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Zinc oxide is regarded as a promising candidate for application in photoelectrochemical water oxidation due to its higher electron mobility. However, its instability under alkaline conditions limits its application in a practical setting. Herein, we demonstrate an easily achieved wet-chemical route to chemically stabilize ZnO nanowires (NWs) by protecting them with a thin layer Fe2O3 shell. This shell, in which the thickness can be tuned by varying reaction times, forms an intact interface with ZnO NWs, thus protecting ZnO from corrosion in a basic solution. The reverse energetic heterojunction nanowires are subsequently activated by introducing an amorphous iron phosphate, which substantially suppressed surface recombination as a passivation layer and improved photoelectrochemical performance as a potential catalyst. Compared with pure ZnO NWs (0.4 mA cm−2), a maximal photocurrent of 1.0 mA cm−2 is achieved with ZnO/Fe2O3 core–shell NWs and 2.3 mA cm−2 was achieved for the PH3-treated NWs at 1.23 V versus RHE. The PH3 low-temperature treatment creates a dual function, passivation and catalyst layer (Fe2PO5), examined by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, TEM, photoelectrochemical characterization, and impedance measurements. Such a nano-composition design offers great promise to improve the overall performance of the photoanode material.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2796-2804
Number of pages9
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jul 10 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Materials Science
  • General Energy


  • charge separation
  • heterojunction
  • overlayer
  • photoelectrochemistry
  • surface state


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