, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp 249-258,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

CdSe quantum dot-sensitized Au/TiO2 hybrid mesoporous films and their enhanced photoelectrochemical performance

Abstract

Novel CdSe quantum dot (QD)-sensitized Au/TiO2 hybrid mesoporous films have been designed, fabricated, and evaluated for photoelectrochemical (PEC) applications. The Au/TiO2 hybrid structures were made by assembly of Au and TiO2 nanoparticles (NPs). A chemical bath deposition method was applied to deposit CdSe QDs on TiO2 NP films with and without Au NPs embedded. We observed significant enhancements in photocurrent for the film with Au NPs, in the entire spectral region we studied (350–600 nm). Incident-photon-to-current efficiency (IPCE) data revealed an average enhancement of 50%, and the enhancement was more significant at short wavelength. This substantially improved PEC performance is tentatively attributed to the increased light absorption of CdSe QDs due to light scattering by Au NPs. Interestingly, without QD sensitization, the Au NPs quenched the photocurrent of TiO2 films, due to the dominance of electron trapping over light scattering by Au NPs. The results suggest that metal NPs are potentially useful for improving the photoresponse in PEC cells and possibly in other devices such as solar cells based on QD-sensitized metal oxide nanostructured films. This work demonstrates that metal NPs can serve as light scattering centers, besides functioning as photo-sensitizers and electron traps. The function of metal NPs in a particular nanocomposite film is strongly dependent on their structure and morphology.