Noble-metal-free carbon nanotube-Cd0.1Zn0.9S composites for high visible-light photocatalytic H2-production performance
Visible light photocatalytic H2 production from water splitting using solar light is of great importance from the viewpoint of solar energy conversion and storage. In this study, a novel visible-light-driven photocatalyst multiwalled carbon nanotube modified Cd0.1Zn0.9S solid solution (CNT/Cd0.1Zn0.9S) was prepared by a simple hydrothermal method. The prepared samples exhibited enhanced photocatalytic H2-production activity under visible light. CNT content had a great influence on photocatalytic activity and an optimum amount of CNT was determined to be ca. 0.25 wt%, at which the CNT/Cd0.1Zn0.9S displayed the highest photocatalytic activity under visible light, giving an H2-production rate of 78.2 μmol h−1 with an apparent quantum efficiency (QE) of 7.9% at 420 nm, even without any noble metal cocatalysts, exceeding that of pure Cd0.1Zn0.9S by more than 3.3 times. The enhanced photocatalytic activity was due to CNT as an excellent electron acceptor and transporter, thus reducing the recombination of charge carriers and enhancing the photocatalytic activity. Furthermore, the prepared sample was photostable and no photocorrosion was observed after photocatalytic recycling. Our findings demonstrated that CNT/Cd0.1Zn0.9S composites were a promising candidate for the development of high-performance photocatalysts in photocatalytic H2 production. This work not only shows a possibility for the utilization of low cost CNT as a substitute for noble metals (such as Pt) in the photocatalytic H2-production but also for the first time shows a significant enhancement in the H2-production activity by using metal-free carbon materials as effective co-catalysts.