Facile and efficient atomic hydrogenation enabled black TiO2 with enhanced photo‐electrochemical activity via a favorably low‐energy‐barrier pathway
Black TiO2 has demonstrated a great potential for a variety of renewable energy technologies. However, its practical application is heavily hindered due to lack of efficient hydrogenation methods and a deeper understanding of hydrogenation mechanisms. Here, a simple and straightforward hot wire annealing (HWA) method is presented to prepare black TiO2 (H-TiO2) nanorods with enhanced photo‐electrochemical (PEC) activity by means of atomic hydrogen [H]. Compared to conventional molecular hydrogen approaches, the HWA shows remarkable effectiveness without any detrimental side effects on the device structure, and simultaneously the photocurrent density of H-TiO2 reaches 2.5 mA cm-² (at 1.23 V vs reversible hydrogen electrode (RHE)). Due to the controllable and reproducible [H] flux, the HWA can be developed as a standard hydrogenation method for black TiO2. Meanwhile, the relationships between the wire temperatures, structural, optical, and photo‐electrochemical properties are systematically investigated to verify the improved PEC activity. Furthermore, the density functional theory (DFT) study provides a comprehensive insight not only into the highly efficient mechanism of the HWA approach but also its favorably low‐energy‐barrier hydrogenation pathway. The findings will have a profound impact on the broad energy applications of H-TiO2 and contribute to the fundamental understanding of its hydrogenation.