University of Hertfordshire

  • Yongfei Cui
  • Joe Briscoe
  • Yaqiong Wang
  • Nadezda V. Tarakina
  • Steve Dunn
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Original languageEnglish
Number of pages9
Pages (from-to)24518-24526
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Journal publication date26 Jul 2017
Early online date28 Jun 2017
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jul 2017


We have used a ferroelectric BaTiO3 substrate with a hematite (α-Fe2O3) nanostructured surface to form a heterogeneous BaTiO3/α-Fe2O3 photocatalyst. In this study we show that varying the mass ratio of α-Fe2O3 on BaTiO3 has a significant influence on photoinduced decolorization of rhodamine B under simulated sunlight. The highest photocatalytic activity was obtained for BaTiO3-Fe2O3-0.001M, with the lowest mass ratio of α-Fe2O3 in our study. This catalyst exhibited a 2-fold increase in performance compared to pure BaTiO3 and a 5-fold increase when compared to the higher-surface-area pure α-Fe2O3. The increases in performance become more marked upon scaling for the lower surface area of the heterostructured catalyst. Performance enhancement is associated with improved charge-carrier separation at the interface between the ferroelectric surface, which exhibits ferroelectric polarization, and the hematite. Increasing the mass ratio of hematite increases the thickness of this layer, lowers the number of triple-point locations, and results in reduced performance enhancement. We show that the reduced performance is due to a lack of light penetrating into BaTiO3 and to relationships between the depolarization field from the ferroelectric and carriers in the hematite. Our findings demonstrate that it is possible to use the built-in electric field of a ferroelectric material to promote charge-carrier separation and boost photocatalytic efficiency.


PMID: 28658570

ID: 13490448