On the orbital anisotropy in hematite nanorod-based photoanodes

Coleman X. Kronawitter, Ioannis Zegkinoglou, Shaohua Shen, Jinghua Guo, Franz J. Himpsel, Samuel S. Mao, Lionel Vayssieres

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

The orbital anisotropy of hematite (α-Fe2O3) nanorod arrays, an engineered structure commonly investigated for applications in solar water oxidation photoanodes, is probed using polarization-dependent soft X-ray absorption spectroscopy at the O K-edge and at the Fe L 2,3-edge. Thereby the unoccupied states of α-Fe 2O3 are examined. In the lowest energy region these are found to be strongly-hybridized Fe 3d (a1g) orbitals and O 2- ligand 2p orbitals, oriented along the c-axis. For [110]-oriented α-Fe2O3 nanocrystals the observed direction of strong hybridization is parallel to the substrate surface (perpendicular to the direction of electron conduction and light propagation in operating electrodes). The Fe L3-edge line shape and aspects of polarization dependence can be reproduced by crystal field atomic multiplet calculations of 2p-to-3d transitions for Fe3+ in the D3d point group symmetry of metal ions in the corundum structure. Both the O K-edge and Fe L 3-edge spectra possess features that may be related to the high density of surface atoms in this nanoscale system. They are associated with partial coordination and therefore reduced symmetry compared to that for Fe 3+ in bulk crystals.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)13483-13488
Number of pages6
JournalPhysical Chemistry Chemical Physics
Volume15
Issue number32
DOIs
StatePublished - 28 Aug 2013

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