Ternary Pt/SnOx/TiO2 photocatalysts for hydrogen production: consequence of Pt sites for synergy of dual co-catalysts
A variety of ternary nanoheterostructures composed of Pt nanoparticles (NPs), SnOx species, and anatase TiO2 are designed elaborately to explore the effect of interfacial electron transfer on photocatalytic H2 evolution from a biofuel–water solution. Among numerous factors controlling the H2 evolution, the significance of Pt sites for the H2 evolution is highlighted by tuning the loading procedure of Pt NPs and SnOx species over TiO2. A synergistic enhancement of H2 evolution can be achieved over the Pt/SnOx/TiO2 heterostructures formed by anchoring Pt NPs at atomically-isolated Sn-oxo sites, whereas the Pt/TiO2/SnOx counterparts prepared by grafting single-site Sn-oxo species on Pt/TiO2 show a marked decrease in the rate of H2 evolution. The characterization results clearly reveal that the synergy of Pt NPs and SnOx species originates from the vectorial electron transfer of TiO2 → SnOx → Pt occurring on the former, while the latter results from the competitive electron transfer from TiO2 to SnOx and to Pt NPs.