Spatial distribution of active sites on a ferroelectric PbTiO3 photocatalyst for photocatalytic hydrogen production†
The separation of photogenerated charge carries is a challenging issue in artificial photocatalyst systems for solar energy conversion. It has been reported that spatial charge separation can take place between different facets of semiconductor-based crystals with regular morphology and facets, which could be used to rationally deposit cocatalysts on the right facets. However, the spatial separation of photogenerated electrons and holes is still a big challenge for a particulate photocatalyst without regular morphology and specific facets. In this work, we demonstrated that photogenerated electrons and holes can be regularly separated on ferroelectric PbTiO3 photocatalyst even without regular morphology and facets. The reduction cocatalyst and oxidation cocatalyst could be selectively formed on different sites via an in situ photochemical deposition method. It is found that the photoactivity and hydrogen production for PbTiO3 with spatially separated dual-cocatalysts is remarkably enhanced to more than 100 times greater compared to native PbTiO3, which is much higher than that the case of dual-cocatalysts with a random distribution. The intrinsic electric fields and spontaneous electric polarization in the bulk of PbTiO3 are proposed to play important roles in the spatial distribution of active sites on irregular PbTiO3 particles. Our work emphasizes the essential roles of two important factors, efficient charge separation strategy and the location of dual-cocatalysts on the right sites, to construct integrated artificial photocatalyst systems for solar energy conversion.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Artificial Photosynthesis