Heterogeneous photocatalysts: an overview of classic and modern approaches for optical, electronic, and charge dynamics evaluation
The functionality of a photoactive semiconductor (i.e., photocatalysts, photoelectrodes, etc.) is largely dictated by three key aspects: (i) band gap; (ii) absolute potentials of the conduction band minimum and the valence band maximum; and (iii) bulk and surface charge carrier dynamics. Their relevance to governing the energetics and the photo(electro)chemical mechanisms of the semiconductor has prompted development of a multitude of characterization tools to probe the specific characteristic of the material. This review aims to summarize the current experimental techniques, including the conventional and the state-of-the-art tools, directed at examining the key aspects (i), (ii), and (iii) of semiconductors. Although not being exhaustive, this didactic review can be useful to apprise the research community of the sophisticated research tools currently available for characterization of photo(electro)catalyst semiconductors as well as to bridge the multidisciplinary knowledge.