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Electron Transfer in Dye-Sensitised Semiconductors Modified with Molecular Cobalt Catalysts: Photoreduction of Aqueous Protons

Authors

  • Fezile Lakadamyali,

    1. Christian Doppler Laboratory for Sustainable SynGas Chemistry, Department of Chemistry, University of Cambridge, Lensfield Road, Cambridge CB2 1EW (UK)
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  • Dr. Anna Reynal,

    1. Department of Chemistry, Imperial College London, Exhibition Road, London SW7 2AZ (UK)
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  • Dr. Masaru Kato,

    1. Christian Doppler Laboratory for Sustainable SynGas Chemistry, Department of Chemistry, University of Cambridge, Lensfield Road, Cambridge CB2 1EW (UK)
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  • Prof. James R. Durrant,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Chemistry, Imperial College London, Exhibition Road, London SW7 2AZ (UK)
    • Department of Chemistry, Imperial College London, Exhibition Road, London SW7 2AZ (UK)
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  • Dr. Erwin Reisner

    Corresponding author
    1. Christian Doppler Laboratory for Sustainable SynGas Chemistry, Department of Chemistry, University of Cambridge, Lensfield Road, Cambridge CB2 1EW (UK)
    • Christian Doppler Laboratory for Sustainable SynGas Chemistry, Department of Chemistry, University of Cambridge, Lensfield Road, Cambridge CB2 1EW (UK)
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Abstract

A visible-light driven H2 evolution system comprising of a RuII dye (RuP) and CoIII proton reduction catalysts (CoP) immobilised on TiO2 nanoparticles and mesoporous films is presented. The heterogeneous system evolves H2 efficiently during visible-light irradiation in a pH-neutral aqueous solution at 25 °C in the presence of a hole scavenger. Photodegradation of the self-assembled system occurs at the ligand framework of CoP, which can be readily repaired by addition of fresh ligand, resulting in turnover numbers above 300 mol H2 (mol CoP)−1 and above 200,000 mol H2 (mol TiO2 nanoparticles)−1 in water. Our studies support that a molecular Co species, rather than metallic Co or a Co-oxide precipitate, is responsible for H2 formation on TiO2. Electron transfer in this system was studied by transient absorption spectroscopy and time-correlated single photon counting techniques. Essentially quantitative electron injection takes place from RuP into TiO2 in approximately 180 ps. Thereby, upon dye regeneration by the sacrificial electron donor, a long-lived TiO2 conduction band electron is formed with a half-lifetime of approximately 0.8 s. Electron transfer from the TiO2 conduction band to the CoP catalysts occurs quantitatively on a 10 μs timescale and is about a hundred times faster than charge-recombination with the oxidised RuP. This study provides a benchmark for future investigations in photocatalytic fuel generation with molecular catalysts integrated in semiconductors.

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