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Optical quantum confinement in low dimensional hematite
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Chemistry, Department of Chemistry - Ångström, Inorganic Chemistry.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Chemistry, Department of Chemistry - Ångström, Inorganic Chemistry.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Chemistry, Department of Chemistry - Ångström, Inorganic Chemistry.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Chemistry, Department of Chemistry - Ångström, Inorganic Chemistry.
2014 (English)In: Journal of Materials Chemistry A, ISSN 2050-7488, Vol. 2, no 10, 3352-3363 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Hematite is considered to be a promising material for various applications, including for example photoelectrochemical cells for solar hydrogen production. Due to limitations in the charge transport properties hematite needs to be in the form of low-dimensional particles or thin films in several of these applications. This may however affect the optical properties, introducing additional complications for efficient design of photo-active devices. In this paper the optical absorption is analyzed in detail as a function of film thickness for 35 thin films of hematite ranging between 2 and 70 nm. Hematite was deposited by atomic layer deposition on FTO-substrates using Fe(CO)(5) and O-2 as precursors. It was found that for film thicknesses below 20 nm the optical properties are severely affected as a consequence of quantum confinement. One of the more marked effects is a blue shift of up to 0.3 eV for thinner films of both the indirect and direct transitions, as well as a 0.2 eV shift of the absorption maximum. The data show a difference in quantum confinement for the indirect and the direct transitions, where the probability for the indirect transition decreases markedly and essentially disappears for the thinnest films. Raman measurements showed no peak shift or change in relative intensity for vibrations for the thinnest films indicating that the decrease in indirect transition probability could not be assigned to depression of any specific phonon but instead seems to be a consequence of isotropic phonon confinement. The onset of the indirect transition is found at 1.75 eV for the thickest films and shifted to 2.0 eV for the thinner films. Two direct transitions are found at 2.15 eV and 2.45 eV, which are blue shifted 0.3 and 0.45 eV respectively, when decreasing the film thickness from 20 to 4 nm. Low dimensional hematite, with dimensions small enough for efficient charge transport, thus has a substantially lower absorption in the visible region than expected from bulk values. This knowledge of the intrinsic optical behavior of low dimensional hematite will be of importance in the design of efficient photo-active devices.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 2, no 10, 3352-3363 p.
National Category
Natural Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-221059DOI: 10.1039/c3ta14846gISI: 000331249900012OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-221059DiVA: diva2:708167
Available from: 2014-03-26 Created: 2014-03-25 Last updated: 2015-01-23Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Highly Efficient CIGS Based Devices for Solar Hydrogen Production and Size Dependent Properties of ZnO Quantum Dots
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Highly Efficient CIGS Based Devices for Solar Hydrogen Production and Size Dependent Properties of ZnO Quantum Dots
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Materials and device concepts for renewable solar hydrogen production, and size dependent properties of ZnO quantum dots are the two main themes of this thesis.

ZnO particles with diameters less than 10 nm, which are small enough for electronic quantum confinement, were synthesized by hydrolysis in alkaline zinc acetate solutions. Properties investigated include: the band gap - particle size relation, phonon quantum confinement, visible and UV-fluorescence as well as photocatalytic performance. In order to determine the absolute energetic position of the band edges and the position of trap levels involved in the visible fluorescence, methods based on combining linear sweep voltammetry and optical measurements were developed.

The large band gap of ZnO prevents absorption of visible light, and in order to construct devices capable of utilizing a larger part of the solar spectrum, other materials were also investigated, like hematite , Fe2O3, and CIGS, CuIn1-xGaxSe2.

The optical properties of hematite were investigated as a function of film thickness on films deposited by ALD. For films thinner than 20 nm, a blue shift was observed for both the absorption maximum, the indirect band gap as well as for the direct transitions. The probability for the indirect transition decreased substantially for thinner films due to a suppressed photon/phonon coupling. These effects decrease the visible absorption for films thin enough for effective charge transport in photocatalytic applications.

CIGS was demonstrated to be a highly interesting material for solar hydrogen production. CIGS based photocathodes demonstrated high photocurrents for the hydrogen evolution half reaction. The electrode stability was problematic, but was solved by introducing a modular approach based on spatial separation of the basic functionalities in the device. To construct devices capable of driving the full reaction, the possibility to use cells interconnected in series as an alternative to tandem devices were investigated. A stable, monolithic device based on three CIGS cells interconnected in series, reaching beyond 10 % STH-efficiency, was finally demonstrated. With experimental support from the CIGS-devices, the entire process of solar hydrogen production was reviewed with respect to the underlying physical processes, with special focus on the similarities and differences between various device concepts.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2014. 155 p.
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1651-6214 ; 1134
Keyword
ZnO, Nanoparticles, Quanum Dots, Size Dependent Properties, Hematite, CIGS, Solar Water Splitting, Hydrogen Production, PEC, Photoelectrochemical cells, PV-electrolysis
National Category
Inorganic Chemistry Physical Chemistry Materials Chemistry
Research subject
Chemistry with specialization in Inorganic Chemistry
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-221260 (URN)978-91-554-8918-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2014-05-23, Häggsalen, Ångström Laboratory, Lägehydsvägen 1, Uppsala, 09:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2014-04-24 Created: 2014-03-27 Last updated: 2014-05-27Bibliographically approved
2. Synthesis and Characterisation of Ultra Thin Film Oxides for Energy Applications
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Synthesis and Characterisation of Ultra Thin Film Oxides for Energy Applications
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis describes studies of materials which can be exploited for hydrogen production from water and sunlight. The materials investigated are maghemite (γ-Fe2O3), magnetite (Fe3O4) and especially hematite (α-Fe2O3), which is an iron oxide with most promising properties in this field. Hematite has been deposited using Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) - a thin-film technique facilitating layer-by-layer growth with excellent thickness control and step coverage. The iron oxides were deposited using bis-cyclopentadienyl iron (Fe(Cp)2) or iron pentacarbonyl (Fe(CO)5) in combination with an O2 precursor. Since it is crucial to have good control of the deposition process, the influence of substrate, process temperature, precursor and carrier gas have been investigated systematically. By careful control of these deposition parameters, three polymorphs of iron oxide could be deposited: hematite (α-Fe2O3), maghemite (γ-Fe2O3) and magnetite (Fe3O4).

The deposited materials were characterized using X-ray Diffraction, Raman and UV-VIS Spectroscopy, and Scanning Electron Microscopy. Hard X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (HAXPES) was also used, since it is a non-destructive, chemically specific, surface sensitive technique – the surface sensitivity resulting from the short mean escape depth of the photoelectrons. The depth probed can be controlled by varying the excitation energy; higher photoelectron energies increasing the inelastic mean-free-path in the material.

HAXPES studies of atomic diffusion from F-doped SnO2 substrates showed increased doping levels of Sn, Si and F in the deposited films. Diffusion from the substrate was detected at annealing temperatures between 550 °C and 800 °C. Films annealed in air exhibited improved photocatalytic behavior; a photocurrent of 0.23 mA/cm2 was observed for those films, while the as-deposited hematite films showed no photo-activity whatsoever.

The optical properties of low-dimensional hematite were studied in a series of ultra-thin films (thicknesses in the 2-70 nm range). The absorption maxima were shifted to higher energies for films thinner than 20 nm, revealing a different electronic structure in thin films.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2014. 113 p.
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1651-6214 ; 1186
Keyword
Atomic Layer Deposition, Iron oxides, Hematite, Solar Water Splitting, Hard X-Ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy
National Category
Materials Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-232948 (URN)978-91-554-9048-5 (ISBN)
Public defence
2014-11-21, Polhemsalen, 10134, Ångström, Lägerhyddsvägen 1, Uppsala, 10:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2014-10-30 Created: 2014-09-28 Last updated: 2015-01-23

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Fondell, MattisJacobsson, Jesper T.Boman, MatsEdvinsson, Tomas

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