Tuning the optical energy band gap of sol-gel-based titanium dioxide nanocomposite particles incorporated with ITO, fullerene, and SWCNT
Hydrogen energy is an alternative source of energy apart from the fossil fuel sources being utilized at present. With the depleting energy from fossil fuels and very low reserves, hydrogen energy can be an excellent fuel for future generations to come. Water splitting is a technique by which hydrogen (H2) can be separated from the water (H2O) molecule, and this hydrogen can then be transferred to fuel cells as energy. The water-splitting theory is depicted when the water molecule is exposed to sunlight under the action of a photocatalyst. The photon energy is not entirely utilized to split the water molecule, which is mainly due to the large energy band gap of semiconductor materials. The photoactivity of semiconductor material is increased by tuning down the energy band gap. In this research, the energy band gap of titanium dioxide (TiO2) as a semiconductor was tuned down by doping TiO2 nanoparticles with indium tin oxide (ITO), fullerene (C60), and a singlewalled carbon nanotube (SWCNT) separately. The TiO2 nanoparticles were synthesized by a solgel technique using titanium isopropoxide (C12H28O4Ti), 2-propanol anhydrous (C3H7O), and hydrochloric acid (HCl). This research might well open new opportunities and possibilities for synthesizing a semiconductor-based photocatalyst for photoelectrochemical (PEC) solar water splitting.