Publikation

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Originalbeitrag (peer-reviewed)

Zeitschrift JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY C
Volume (Issue) 115(13)
Seite(n) 5619 - 5625
Titel der Proceedings JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY C
DOI 10.1021/jp108230r

Abstract

Electrochemical oxidation of hematite (α-Fe2O3) nano-particulate films at 600 mV vs. Ag+/AgCl reference in KOH electrolyte forms a species at the hematite surface which causes a new transition in the upper Hubbard band between the Fe(3d)-O(2p) state region and the Fe(4sp)-O(2p) region, as evidenced by oxygen near edge x-ray absorption fine structure (NEXAFS) spectra. The electrochemical origin of this transition suggests that it is related with a surface state. This transition, not known for pristine α-Fe2O3 is at about the same x-ray energy, where pristine 1% Si doped Si:Fe2O3 has such transition. Occurrence of this state coincides with the onset of an oxidative dark current wave at around 535 mV – a potential range, where the tunneling exchange current has been previously reported to increase by three orders of magnitude with the valence band and the transfer coefficient by a factor of 10. Oxidation to only 200 mV does not form such extra NEXAFS feature, supporting that a critical electrochemical potential between 200 and 600 mV is necessary to change the electronic structure of the iron oxide at the surface. Decrease of the surface roughness, as suggested by visual inspection, profilometry and x-ray reflectivity, points to faceting as potential structural origin of the surface state.
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