Microtech 2011

Anisotropic Nano-photocatalysts: Toward Solar Fuels Applications

S.E. Hunyadi Murph
Savannah River National Laboratory, US

Keywords: metallic nanoparticles, metal oxides nanoparticles, photocatalysis, solar fuels

Abstract:

To design a better photocatalyst nanostructure for solar fuels applications, one needs to engineer the bandgap of the photocatalytic materials and light absorption in the UV/Vis region, and maximize the reaction channels for the conversion. This requires one to reduce the bandgap of catalysts through nanofabrication and broaden the absorbance with multiple bandgap materials under careful design. Titania has been considered the most appropriate candidate for photocatalytic processes due to its powerful oxidation capability, superior charge transport, and corrosion resistance. Despite these attributes, the efficiency of TiO2 for photovoltaic and photocatalytic applications is severely limited by its large bandgap (~3.2 eV) and rapid charge carrier recombination dynamics which means that anatase titania can use less than 1% of the solar spectrum. However, Au, Ag and Pt nanoparticles can be utilized to sensitize TiO2 and extend its photo-response to the visible region of the solar spectrum. This presentation highlights work from its authors’ laboratories on the synthesis, growth mechanism, properties and solar fuels potential applications of noble metal-titania nano-photocatalysts. This includes nano-photocatalysts with various designs, geometries and compositions prepared by wet chemical synthesis approaches and electron-beam lithography. Materials are characterized by electron microscopy (SEM, TEM, HRTEM), UV-Vis spectroscopy, energy dispersive X-ray analysis (EDX), dynamic light scattering, inductively coupled plasma emission spectroscopy (ICP-MS), and atomic force microscope (AFM).
 

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