Amorphous NiCu Thin Films Sputtered on TiO2 Nanotube Arrays: A Noble-Metal Free Photocatalyst for Hydrogen Evolution

Marco Pinna, Angeline Wo Weng Wei, Davide Spanu, Johannes Will, Tadahiro Yokosawa, Erdmann Spiecker, Sandro Recchia, Patrik Schmuki, Marco Altomare*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
286 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

In this work, NiCu co-catalysts on TiO2 are studied for photocatalytic hydrogen evolution. NiCu co-catalyst films are deposited at room temperature by argon plasma sputtering on high aspect-ratio anodic TiO2 nanotubes. To tune the Ni : Cu atomic ratio, alloys of various compositions were used as sputtering targets. Such co-catalyst films are found to be amorphous with small nanocrystalline domains. A series of parameters is investigated, i. e., i) Ni : Cu relative ratio in the sputtered films, ii) NiCu film thickness, and iii) thickness of the TiO2 nanotube layers. The highest photocatalytic activity is obtained with 8 μm long TiO2 nanotubes, sputter-coated with a 10 nm-thick NiCu films with a 1 : 1 Ni : Cu atomic ratio. This photocatalyst reaches a stable hydrogen evolution rate of 186 μL h−1 cm−2, 4.6 and 3 times higher than that of Ni- and Cu-TiO2, respectively, demonstrating a synergistic co-catalytic effect of Ni and Cu in the alloy co-catalyst film.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere202201052
Number of pages11
JournalChemCatChem
Volume14
Issue number23
Early online date18 Oct 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 Dec 2022

Keywords

  • hydrogen evolution
  • NiCu alloy
  • noble-metal free
  • photocatalysis
  • TiO
  • UT-Hybrid-D

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