Rapid and controllable flame reduction of TiO2 nanowires for enhanced solar water-splitting

In Sun Cho, Manca Logar, Chi Hwan Lee, Lili Cai, Fritz B. Prinz, Xiaolin Zheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We report a new flame reduction method to generate controllable amount of oxygen vacancies in TiO2 nanowires that leads to nearly three times improvement in the photoelectrochemical (PEC) water-splitting performance. The flame reduction method has unique advantages of a high temperature (>1000 C), ultrafast heating rate, tunable reduction environment, and open-atmosphere operation, so it enables rapid formation of oxygen vacancies (less than one minute) without damaging the nanowire morphology and crystallinity and is even applicable to various metal oxides. Significantly, we show that flame reduction greatly improves the saturation photocurrent densities of TiO2 nanowires (2.7 times higher), α-Fe2O3 nanowires (9.4 times higher), ZnO nanowires (2.0 times higher), and BiVO4 thin film (4.3 times higher) in comparison to untreated control samples for PEC water-splitting applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)24-31
Number of pages8
JournalNano letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 8 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Flame reduction
  • TiO nanowires
  • charge transport/transfer efficiencies
  • conductivity
  • oxygen vacancy
  • photoelectrochemical water-splitting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering


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