Electronic properties of Β-TaON and its surfaces for solar water splitting
Applied Catalysis B: Environmental
© 2018 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/BY/4.0/).
Recently, oxynitrides materials such as β-TaON has been using as a photoanode material in the field of photocatalysis and is found to be promising due to its suitable band gap and charge carrier mobility. Computational study of the crystalline β-TaON in the form of primitive unit cell, supercell and its N, Ta, and O terminated surfaces are carried out with the help of periodic density functional theory (DFT). Optical and electronic properties of all these different species are simulated, which predict TaON as the best candidate for photocatalytic water splitting contrast to their Ta 2 O 5 and Ta 3 N 5 counterparts. The calculated bandgap, valence band, and conduction band edge positions predict that β-TaON should be an efficient photoanodic material. The valence band is made up of N 2p orbitals with a minor contribution from O 2p, while the conduction band is made up of Ta 5d. Turning to thin films, the valence band maximum; VBM (−6.4 eV vs. vacuum) and the conduction band minimum; CBM (−3.3 eV vs. vacuum) of (010)-O terminated surface are respectively well below and above the redox potentials of water as required for photocatalysis. Charge carriers have smaller effective masses than in the (001)-N terminated film (VBM −5.8 and CBM −3.7 eV vs. vacuum). However, due to wide band gap (3.0 eV) of (010)-O terminated surface, it cannot absorb visible wavelengths. On the other hand, the (001)-N terminated TaON thin film has a smaller band gap in the visible region (2.1 eV) but the bands are not aligned to the redox potential of water. Possibly a mixed phase material would produce an efficient photoanode for solar water splitting, where one phase performs the oxidation and the other reduction.
We acknowledge the ﬁnancial support of Engineering and Physical Science Research Council, UK (EPSRC)under the research grant Nos. EP/P510956/1, EP/P003435/1 and EP/R512801/1. S.K acknowledges the Notur Norwegian supercomputing facilities through project nn4608k and the HyMatSiRen project 272806 by the Research Council of Norway. We also acknowledge Prof. Neil Allan and Dr. Sergio C. Espindola for their help in completing this work.
This is the final version of the article. Available from Elsevier via the DOI in this record.
Vol. 229, pp. 24 - 31