"Noncompensated n-p codoping" is established as an enabling concept for enhancing the visible-light photoactivity of TiO2 by narrowing its band gap. The concept embodies two crucial ingredients: The electrostatic attraction within the n-p dopant pair enhances both the thermodynamic and kinetic solubilities, and the noncompensated nature ensure the creation of tunable intermediate bands that effectively narrow the band gap. The concept is demonstrated using first-principles calculations, and is validated by direct measurement of band gap narrowing using scanning tunneling spectroscopy, dramatically redshifted optical absorbance, and enhanced photoactivity manifested by efficient electron-hole separation in the visible-light region. This concept is broadly applicable to the synthesis of other advanced functional materials that demand optimal dopant control.
Relevant Publication(s): W.G. Zhu, X.F. Qiu, V. Iancu, X.Q. Chen, H. Pan, W. Wang, N.M. Dimitrijevic, T. Rajh, H.M. Meyer, M.P. Paranthaman, G.M. Stocks, H.H. Weitering, B.H. Gu, G. Eres, and Z.Y. Zhang, Physical Review Letters 103, 226401 (2009).