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Porous TaON Photoanodes Loaded with Cobalt-Based Cocatalysts for Efficient and Stable Water Oxidation Under Visible Light


Porous photoanodes for visible-light-induced water oxidation were prepared via simple electrophoretic deposition of TaON particles, preliminarily modified with CoO x nanoparticles, on a Ti substrate. Post-necking process involving methanolic TaCl5 solution and subsequent heating in NH3 stream formed bridges between TaON particles, which facilitated electron transport within the porous electrode and thereby increased the photocurrent significantly. The temperature of the NH3 treatment in the post-necking process significantly influenced both the charge transport through the bridges and the activity of the CoO x cocatalyst for water oxidation, thus producing maximum photocurrent after heating at 723 K. The highly dispersed CoO x nanoparticles considerably improved the stability of the photocurrent due to efficient capture of photogenerated holes and consequent reduction of the probability of self-oxidative deactivation of the TaON surface. The combination of phosphate buffer solutions with a highly dispersed CoO x cocatalyst on the TaON surface significantly increased the photocurrent due to the in situ photoelectrochemical production of an amorphous cobalt/phosphate (Co–Pi) phase, which covers the TaON surface almost entirely, and consequently improved the its stability in long-term photoirradiation.

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This work was financially supported by ENEOS Hydrogen Trust Fund, JST-CREST, and JSPS KAKENHI Grant Number 15K17896. The authors are indebted to the technical division of Catalysis Research Center, Hokkaido University for their help in designing the experimental setups for photoelectrochemical measurements.

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Correspondence to Ryu Abe.

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Higashi, M., Tomita, O. & Abe, R. Porous TaON Photoanodes Loaded with Cobalt-Based Cocatalysts for Efficient and Stable Water Oxidation Under Visible Light. Top Catal 59, 740–749 (2016).

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  • Water splitting
  • Visible light
  • Oxynitride
  • Photoanode
  • Water oxidation
  • Cocatalyst