Semiconductor photocatalysis has received much attention as a potential solution to the worldwide energy shortage and for counteracting environmental degradation. This article reviews state-of-the-art research activities in the field, focusing on the scientific and technological possibilities offered by photocatalytic materials. We begin with a survey of efforts to explore suitable materials and to optimize their energy band configurations for specific applications. We then examine the design and fabrication of advanced photocatalytic materials in the framework of nanotechnology. Many of the most recent advances in photocatalysis have been realized by selective control of the morphology of nanomaterials or by utilizing the collective properties of nano-assembly systems. Finally, we discuss the current theoretical understanding of key aspects of photocatalytic materials. This review also highlights crucial issues that should be addressed in future research activities.