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Electrochemical Method for Synthesis of a ZnFe2O4/TiO2 Composite Nanotube Array Modified Electrode with Enhanced Photoelectrochemical Activity

Authors

  • Yang Hou,

    1. Key Laboratory of Industrial Ecology and Environmental Engineering (MOE) State Key Laboratory of Fine Chemical School of Environmental Science and Technology Dalian University of Technology Dalian, 116024 (China)
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  • Xin-Yong Li,

    Corresponding author
    1. Key Laboratory of Industrial Ecology and Environmental Engineering (MOE) State Key Laboratory of Fine Chemical School of Environmental Science and Technology Dalian University of Technology Dalian, 116024 (China)
    2. Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering The Hong Kong University of Science & Technology Clear Water Bay, Kowloon, Hong Kong (China)
    • Key Laboratory of Industrial Ecology and Environmental Engineering (MOE) State Key Laboratory of Fine Chemical School of Environmental Science and Technology Dalian University of Technology Dalian, 116024 (China)
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  • Qi-Dong Zhao,

    1. Key Laboratory of Industrial Ecology and Environmental Engineering (MOE) State Key Laboratory of Fine Chemical School of Environmental Science and Technology Dalian University of Technology Dalian, 116024 (China)
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  • Xie Quan,

    1. Key Laboratory of Industrial Ecology and Environmental Engineering (MOE) State Key Laboratory of Fine Chemical School of Environmental Science and Technology Dalian University of Technology Dalian, 116024 (China)
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  • Guo-Hua Chen

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering The Hong Kong University of Science & Technology Clear Water Bay, Kowloon, Hong Kong (China)
    • Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering The Hong Kong University of Science & Technology Clear Water Bay, Kowloon, Hong Kong (China).
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Abstract

An electrode with intimate and well-aligned ZnFe2O4/TiO2 composite nanotube arrays is prepared via electrochemical anodization of pure titanium foil in fluorine-containing ethylene glycol, followed by a novel cathodic electrodeposition method. The deposition of ZnFe2O4 is promoted in the self-aligned, vertically oriented TiO2 nanotube arrays but minimized at the tube entrances. Thus, pore clogging is prevented. Environmental scanning electron microscopy, energy-dispersive X-ray spectra, high-resolution transmission electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction patterns, and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy indicate that the as-prepared samples are highly ordered and vertically aligned TiO2 nanotube arrays with ZnFe2O4 nanoparticles loading. The TiO2 nanotubes are anatase with the preferential orientation of <101> plane. Enhanced absorption in both UV and visible light regions is observed for the composite nanotube arrays. The current–voltage curve of ZnFe2O4-loaded TiO2 nanotube arrays reveals a rectifying behavior. The enhanced separation of photoinduced electrons and holes is demonstrated by surface photovoltage and photocurrent measurements. Meanwhile, the photoelectrochemical investigations verify that the ZnFe2O4/TiO2 composite nanotube array modified electrode has a more effective photoconversion capability than the aligned TiO2 nanotube arrays alone. In addition, the photoelectrocatalytic ability of the novel electrode is found enhanced in the degradation of 4-chlorophenol.

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