Visible light-induced water splitting in an aqueous suspension of a plasmonic Au/TiO2 photocatalyst with metal co-catalysts
We found that plasmonic Au particles on titanium(IV) oxide (TiO2) act as a visible-light-driven photocatalyst for overall water splitting free from any additives. This is the first report showing that surface plasmon resonance (SPR) in a suspension system effectively induces overall water splitting. Modification with various types of metal nanoparticles as co-catalysts enhanced the evolution of H2 and O2. Among these, Ni-modified Au/TiO2 exhibited 5-times higher rates of H2 and O2 evolution than those of Ni-free Au/TiO2. We succeeded in designing a novel solar energy conversion system including three elemental technologies, charge separation with light harvest and an active site for O2 evolution (plasmonic Au particles), charge transfer from Au to the active site for H2 production (TiO2), and an active site for H2 production (Ni cocatalyst), by taking advantage of a technique for fabricating size-controlled Au and Ni nanoparticles. Water splitting occurred in aqueous suspensions of Ni-modified Au/TiO2 even under irradiation of light through an R-62 filter.