Understanding the light induced hydrophilicity of metal-oxide thin films

Deshpande RA, Navne J, Adelmark MV, Shkondin E, Crovetto A, Hansen O, Bachmann J, Taboryski R (2024)

Publication Type: Journal article

Publication year: 2024


Book Volume: 15

Article Number: 124

Journal Issue: 1

DOI: 10.1038/s41467-023-44603-2


Photocatalytic effects resulting in water splitting, reduction of carbon dioxide to fuels using solar energy, decomposition of organic compounds, and light-induced hydrophilicity observed on surfaces of various metal oxides (MOx), all rely on the same basic physical mechanisms, and have attracted considerable interest over the past decades. TiO2 and ZnO, two natively n-type doped wide bandgap semiconductors exhibit the effects mentioned above. In this study we propose a model for the photo-induced hydrophilicity in MOx films, and we test the model for TiO2/Si and ZnO/Si heterojunctions. Experimentally, we employ a wet exposure technique whereby the MOx surface is exposed to UV light while a water droplet is sitting on the surface, which allows for a continuous recording of contact angles during illumination. The proposed model and the experimental techniques allow a determination of minority carrier diffusion lengths by contact angle measurements and suggest design rules for materials exhibiting photocatalytic hydrophilicity. We expect that this methodology can be extended to improve our physical understanding of other photocatalytic surface effects.

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How to cite


Deshpande, R.A., Navne, J., Adelmark, M.V., Shkondin, E., Crovetto, A., Hansen, O.,... Taboryski, R. (2024). Understanding the light induced hydrophilicity of metal-oxide thin films. Nature Communications, 15(1). https://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-023-44603-2


Deshpande, Rucha Anil, et al. "Understanding the light induced hydrophilicity of metal-oxide thin films." Nature Communications 15.1 (2024).

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