Cost Effective Solvothermal Method to Synthesize Zn-Doped TiO2 Nanomaterials for Photovoltaic and Photocatalytic Degradation Applications
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionRajaramanan, T., Shanmugaratnam, S., Gurunanthanan, V., Yohi, S., Velauthapillai, D., Ravirajan, P., & Senthilnanthanan, M. (2021). Cost effective solvothermal method to synthesize Zn-doped TiO2 nanomaterials for photovoltaic and photocatalytic degradation applications. Catalysts, 11(6). 10.3390/catal11060690
Titanium dioxide (TiO2) is a commonly used wide bandgap semiconductor material for energy and environmental applications. Although it is a promising candidate for photovoltaic and photocatalytic applications, its overall performance is still limited due to low mobility of porous TiO2 and its limited spectral response. This limitation can be overcome by several ways, one of which is doping that could be used to improve the light harvesting properties of TiO2 by tuning its bandgap. TiO2 doped with elements, such as alkali-earth metals, transition metals, rare-earth elements, and nonmetals, were found to improve its performance in the photovoltaic and photocatalytic applications. Among the doped TiO2 nanomaterials, transition metal doped TiO2 nanomaterials perform efficiently by suppressing the relaxation and recombination of charge carriers and improving the absorption of light in the visible region. This work reports the possibility of enhancing the performance of TiO2 towards Dye Sensitised Solar Cells (DSSCs) and photocatalytic degradation of methylene blue (MB) by employing Zn doping on TiO2 nanomaterials. Zn doping was carried out by varying the mole percentage of Zn on TiO2 by a facile solvothermal method and the synthesized nanomaterials were characterised. The XRD (X-Ray Diffraction) studies confirmed the presence of anatase phase of TiO2 in the synthesized nanomaterials, unaffected by Zn doping. The UV-Visible spectrum of Zn-doped TiO2 showed a red shift which could be attributed to the reduced bandgap resulted by Zn doping. Significant enhancement in Power Conversion Efficiency (PCE) was observed with 1.0 mol% Zn-doped TiO2 based DSSC, which was 35% greater than that of the control device. In addition, it showed complete degradation of MB within 3 h of light illumination and rate constant of 1.5466×10−4s−1 resembling zeroth order reaction. These improvements are attributed to the reduced bandgap energy and the reduced charge recombination by Zn doping on TiO2.