On the genesis of heterogeneous photocatalysis: a brief historical perspective in the period 1910 to the mid-1980s
The concept Photocatalysis and, of greater import here, Heterogeneous Photocatalysis were first introduced in the second decade (1910–1920) of the 20th century according to the CAPLUS and MEDLINE databases (SciFinder). This review reports a brief historical perspective on the origins of the two concepts, whether implied or explicitly stated, in some detail up to about the mid-1980s when heterogeneous photocatalysis witnessed the beginning of an exponential growth, with particular emphasis on the use of nanosized TiO2 particles in powdered form as the (so-called) photocatalyst of choice in environmental applications because of its inherent properties of abundance and chemical stability in acidic and alkaline aqueous media (in the dark), in contrast to ZnO that had been the metal oxide of choice in the early days. The early workers in this area often used the term photosensitization rather than the current popular term photocatalysis, used since the early 1980s. The term Photocatalysis appeared in the literature as early as 1910 in a book by Plotnikow (Russia) and a few years later it was introduced in France by Landau. The review also reports on contributions during the early years by Terenin at the University of St. Petersburg (previously Leningrad, Soviet Union), and in the decade spanning 1975–1985 contributions by Bard's group at the University of Texas at Austin (USA) as well as those of other groups. Some activities into the conversion of light energy to chemical fuels (e.g. H2) during the 1975–1985 decade are also considered.