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Designing hematite photoelectrode via chemical routes for sunlight-induced water splitting

Grant number: 21/04967-0
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate (Direct)
Effective date (Start): June 01, 2021
Effective date (End): October 31, 2023
Field of knowledge:Physical Sciences and Mathematics - Physics - Condensed Matter Physics
Principal Investigator:Flavio Leandro de Souza
Grantee:Fabio Augusto Pires
Host Institution: Centro Nacional de Pesquisa em Energia e Materiais (CNPEM). Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia e Inovações (Brasil). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:17/02317-2 - Interfaces in materials: electronic, magnetic, structural and transport properties, AP.TEM


This Ph.D. research proposal aims to design bare and modified hematite-based photoelectrode via different chemical routes. Hematite has been intensively investigated as a model and promising material to convert light into chemical energy. Its abundance on Earth and ability to absorb sunlight have attracted the scientific community's interest in the possibility of having clean and cheap hydrogen production via artificial photosynthesis. However, few challenges regarding hematite intrinsic limitation such as its poor electronic conductivity and short lifetime of the photogenerated charges leading to low device efficiency have prevented its industrial development. In this sense, many strategies have been used it to overcome such limitation going from the insertion of intermetallic dopants (in-situ and ex-situ) followed by heat treatment in different atmospheres up to build complex hematite architecture or heterostructures. Herein, hematite films will be designed using a different non-complex and low environmental impact chemical route based on a colloidal process without and under the hydrothermal condition on top of conductive transparent substrates. In this scenario, the focus of this research proposal is to understand and control the polycrystalline hematite photoelectrodes surface and interface with different morphology, thickness, and grain sizes. (AU)

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