Band Edge Engineering in BiVO4/TiO2 Heterostructure: Enhanced Photoelectrochemical Performance through Improved Charge Transfer
The efficient separation of photogenerated electron-hole pairs and stability against corrosion are critical preconditions for a photoelectrode to achieve a high photoelectrochemical performance. In this work it is shown how both criteria can be met by employing a heterostructure of bismuth vanadate (BiVO4) and titanium dioxide (TiO2) as the photocatalyst. Using electronic structure calculations, an alteration of the band alignment is predicted at the heterojunction from type I to type II by hydrogen treatment of the top TiO2 layer. Guided by this idea, we have fabricated heterostructures of BiVO4 and TiO2 and studied the effect of hydrogen treatment. The achieved band engineering results in a significant improvement in photocurrent density, up to 4.44 mA cm-2 at 1.23 V vs RHE, and a low onset potential, -0.14 V vs RHE, under visible light illumination.