Publications associated with Quantum Materials

2D photocatalysts with tuneable supports for enhanced photocatalytic water splitting

Materials Today Elsevier (2020)

Y Li, S Wu, J Zheng, Y-K Peng, D Prabhakaran, R Taylor, S Tsang

Sustainable hydrogen production is attracting increasing attention and visible-light-driven water splitting is considered as one of the most promising approaches for hydrogen evolution and solar energy storage. Different materials have been screened at mild conditions in recent decades and 2-dimensional (2D) layered materials are considered good candidates for the photocatalytic water splitting reaction. 2D single layer MoS2 has shown its potential in various catalytic systems, and has also been used in photocatalytic water splitting reaction recently. However, current studies of MoS2 monolayers give low intrinsic activity, preventing it from practical applications. This is attributed to the rapid recombination of the photo-excited charge carriers at room temperature, resulting in poor quantum efficiency (QE). Herein, a state-of-the-art strategy to prolong the exciton lifetimes is reported, which is achieved by combining the 2D MoS2 nanosheets with solid state polar-faceted supports. The charge separation process can be facilitated by the strong local polarisation introduced by the polar-faceted supports, and tuned by changing the supports with different surface polarities. Polar oxide surface is the exposure of oxygen-terminated high energetic facet, which is known to give a net dipole moment perpendicular to its surface. Such variation in the surface properties of the support to the above metal would lead to a difference in metal-support interaction(s). The resulting composite structures show great enhancement toward the visible-light-driven photocatalytic water splitting reaction, giving hydrogen and oxygen evolution in a stoichiometric 2:1 ratio at elevated temperatures from pure water. Photocatalytic performances are improved by the prolonged exciton lifetimes and exceptional hydrogen evolution activity of 2977 μmol g−1 h−1 with impressive QEs are obtained over Ru-doped MoS2 nanosheets on polar ceria support, which is among the best of the reported results of similar catalytic systems to date. More excitingly, the linear relationship between the exciton lifetimes and strength of the local polarisation is also observed, indicating that the rational design of photocatalysts can be simply achieved via engineering their local polarisation by incorporation of polar-faceted materials.

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