Microwave-assisted hydrothermal synthesis of graphene based Au–TiO2 photocatalysts for efficient visible-light hydrogen production
The construction and application of visible-light-driven photocatalysts falls in the central focus for the efficient utilization of renewable solar energy, which provides unprecedented opportunities for addressing the increasing concerns on energy and environmental sustainability. Herein, graphene based Au–TiO2 photocatalysts were fabricated by a simple, one-step microwave-assisted hydrothermal method, using Degussa P25 TiO2 powder (P25), graphene oxide and HAuCl4 aqueous solution as the raw materials. The effects of graphene introduction and gold loading on the photocatalytic hydrogen production rates of the as-prepared samples in a methanolic aqueous solution were investigated. The results indicated that Au–TiO2–graphene composite had a significantly increased visible light absorption and enhanced photocatalytic H2-production activity compared to the Au–TiO2 composite. In comparison, the pure TiO2, graphene–TiO2 and graphene–Au had no appreciable visible-light-driven H2 production. The enhanced photocatalytic H2-production activity of the Au–TiO2–graphene composite is ascribed to (1) the load of the Au nanoparticles which broadens the visible light response of TiO2 due to the surface plasmon resonance (SPR) effect, and (2) the introduction of graphene, which functions as rapid electron transfer units, facilitating the space separation of photoelectron and hole pairs. The proposed H2-production activity enhancement mechanism was further confirmed by the transient photocurrent response and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) experiments.
- This article is part of the themed collection: JMC A Top Picks collection: Harnessing the power of the sun