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The elusive photocatalytic water splitting reaction using sunlight on suspended nanoparticles: is there a way forward?

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Abstract

For many decades hydrogen production by photocatalytic methods has been pursued over a variety of semiconductors with probably over a thousand formulations of powder catalysts in many structures and compositions. Yet, with the exception of a few reports, water splitting to molecular hydrogen and oxygen has remained elusive. The only reproducible results are those involving other additives to water: electron donors or acceptors yielding either hydrogen or oxygen, but not both. The consequence of this is a system unrelated to water splitting but simply driven by the organic or inorganic redox potential. One may argue that thermodynamic limitations indicate that an inorganic semiconductor with a band gap within the spectrum of sunlight, and that is stable in water, cannot split water. Otherwise, it would not have existed on earth.

Graphical abstract: The elusive photocatalytic water splitting reaction using sunlight on suspended nanoparticles: is there a way forward?

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Article information


Submitted
07 Sep 2019
Accepted
21 Nov 2019
First published
22 Nov 2019

This article is Open Access

Catal. Sci. Technol., 2020, Advance Article
Article type
Perspective

The elusive photocatalytic water splitting reaction using sunlight on suspended nanoparticles: is there a way forward?

H. Idriss, Catal. Sci. Technol., 2020, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/C9CY01818B

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