This study addresses a perennial problem in the synthesis of copper vanadates, namely, that of phase purity. A time-efficient solution combustion synthesis (SCS) was employed for obtaining α-CuV2O6 in a polycrystalline powder form in a matter of minutes. Admixture of the final product with α-Cu2V2O7 or V2O5 was avoided by a combination of careful pH control of the SCS precursor mixture and by a postsynthesis NaOH wash. The phase purity of the resultant product was demonstrated by Rietveld refinement of the X-ray diffraction data, energy-dispersive X-ray analyses, and laser Raman spectroscopy. Photoelectrochemical (PEC) measurements showed the material to be an n-type semiconductor. Possible applicability of α-CuV2O6 in PEC devices designed for solar water splitting hinges on a comprehensive study of its structural, optical, magnetic, and optoelectronic attributes; this was done by a combination of theory and experiment. Intensity-modulated photocurrent spectroscopy on thin film samples permitted an assessment of the balance between charge transfer and surface recombination, underlining that the charge separation efficiency determined the photocurrent magnitude. Finally, experiments on the PEC stability of this material on prolonged (∼4 h) irradiation revealed self-healing behavior induced by incipient photocorrosion product layer formation on the oxide semiconductor surface.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Chemical Engineering(all)
- Materials Chemistry