This post-doctoral project is focused on the synthesis and characterization of photocatalytic iron oxide thin films on the hematite phase functionalized with metal nanoparticles for use in devices for generating hydrogen from water splitting. It aims to analyze the strategies of synthesis and controlled deposition of mass hematite and metal nanoparticles, quantifying the amount of light absorbed, generating photocurrent and thus demonstrate the device's viability. The proposal is linked to an international collaborative project FAPESP-AKA proc. 2014 / 50516-6 (valid until February 2018) whose main purpose improve the performance of artificial photosynthesis using nanomaterials in iron oxide electrodes. In this sense, the proposed work will contribute the possibility of such devices improves the photocurrent through the synergy effect of the plasmon of the metallic nanoparticles on the thin film surface of hematite. The use of metal nanoparticles of varying size and morphology is considered strategic with regard to the construction of photoelectrochemical cell and two main factors justify its use: the higher optical absorption of the electromagnetic spectrum, and the possibility of injection and charge separation assisted by surface plasmon, assisting in electron transfer catalyst. Importantly, the originality of the proposal focuses on the modulation of the photocurrent from the different morphologies of the metallic nanoparticles (spherical, rod and multifaceted) coupled with the way the plasmonic properties will be inserted into the device.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: