From Rusting to Solar Power Plants: A Successful Nano-Pattering of Stainless Steel 316L for Visible Light-Induced Photoelectrocatalytic Water Splitting

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Physics Department

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Physics Department

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Physics Department

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Heba H. Farrag, Alaa A. Abbas, Sayed Youssef Sayed, Hafsa H. Alalawy, Bahgat E. El-Anadouli, Ahmad M. Mohammad, and Nageh K. Allam

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Research Article

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ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering

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A novel propitious nanoporous anodized stainless steel 316L (NASS316L) photoanode was developed for water splitting. The anodization could successfully produce a uniform nanoporous (- 90 nm in pore diameter) array (- 2.0 μm thick) of NASS316L with a high pore density. Several techniques, including FESEM, EDX, XRD, XPS, ICP-OES, and UV-vis-NIR spectrophotometry, were employed to characterize the catalyst and to assess and interpret its activity toward water splitting. Surprisingly, the NASS316L retained almost the same composition of the bare stainless steel 316L, which recommended a symmetric dealloying mechanism during anodization. It also possessed a narrow band gap energy (1.77 eV) and a unique photoelectrocatalytic activity (- 4.1 mA cm-2 at 0.65 V versus Ag/AgCl, 4-fold to that of α-Fe2O3) toward water splitting. The onset potential (-0.85 V) in the photocurrent-voltage curve of the NASS316L catalyst demonstrated a negative shift in its Fermi level when compared to α-Fe2O3. The high (23% at 0.2 V vs Ag/AgCl) incident-photon-to-current conversion efficiency and the robust durability revealed from the in situ analysis of the produced H2 gas continued recommending the peerless inexpensive and abundant NASS316L catalyst for potential visible-induced solar applications.

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