Highly ordered TiO2 nanotubes (TNTs) decorated with a series of lanthanide ions (Ln3+ = Ho3+, Tb3+, Eu3+, Yb3+, and Er3+) were prepared through an electrochemical process and anodization. The composition, structure, and chemical bond of the as-prepared photocatalysts were characterized through scanning electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, ultraviolet photoelectron spectroscopy, and ultraviolet diffuse reflectance spectroscopy. Furthermore, the electrochemical characteristics of the catalysts were analyzed and photoelectrochemical properties were investigated through water splitting. All samples were prepared in the anatase phase without changing the crystal structure. The holmium-doped TNT photocatalyst exhibited the best performance with a hydrogen evolution rate of 90.13 μmol cm−2h−1 and photoconversion efficiency of 2.68% (0 V vs. RHE). Photocatalytic efficiency increased because of the expansion of the absorption wavelength range attributed to the appropriate positioning of the band structure and reduced electron/hole pair recombination resulting from the unhindered electron movement. This study demonstrated the preparation of high-potential solar-active photocatalysts through the synergetic effects of the work function, band edge, and bandgap changes caused by the series of lanthanide combinations with TNTs.
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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- General Environmental Science
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry