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Journal of Nanomaterials
Volume 2011, Article ID 737812, 8 pages
Research Article

Electrodeposition of Nanometer-Sized Ferric Oxide Materials in Colloidal Templates for Conversion of Light to Chemical Energy

Departments of Chemistry and Materials Science and Engineering, Johns Hopkins University, 3400 North Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21218, USA

Received 2 June 2010; Accepted 23 July 2010

Academic Editor: William W. Yu

Copyright © 2011 James M. Gardner et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Colloidal crystal templates were prepared by gravitational sedimentation of 0.5 micron polystyrene particles onto fluorine-doped tin oxide (FTO) electrodes. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) shows that the particles were close packed and examination of successive layers indicated a predominantly face-centered-cubic (fcc) crystal structure where the direction normal to the substrate surface corresponds to the (111) direction. Oxidation of aqueous ferrous solutions resulted in the electrodeposition of ferric oxide into the templates. Removal of the colloidal templates yielded ordered macroporous electrodes (OMEs) that were the inverse structure of the colloidal templates. Current integration during electrodeposition and cross-sectional SEM images revealed that the OMEs were about 2 m thick. Comparative X-ray diffraction and infrared studies of the OMEs did not match a known phase of ferric oxide but suggested a mixture of goethite and hematite. The spectroscopic properties of the OMEs were insensitive to heat treatments at . The OMEs were utilized for photoassisted electrochemical oxidation. A sustained photocurrent was observed from visible light in aqueous photoelectrochemical cells. Analysis of photocurrent action spectra revealed an indirect band gap of 1.85 eV. Addition of formate to the aqueous electrolytes resulted in an approximate doubling of the photocurrent.