New Hydrogen-Evolution Heteronanostructured Photocatalysts: Pt-Nb3O7(OH) and Cu-Nb3O7(OH)

Authors

  • Dr. Mohamad Hmadeh,

    1. Materials Chemistry Research Group, Department of Chemistry, University of Toronto, 80 St. George Street, Toronto, Ontario M5S 3H6 (Canada)
    2. Department of Chemistry, American University of Beirut, Beirut 11-0236 (Lebanon)
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    • These authors contributed equally to this work.

  • Dr. Veronika Hoepfner,

    1. Materials Chemistry Research Group, Department of Chemistry, University of Toronto, 80 St. George Street, Toronto, Ontario M5S 3H6 (Canada)
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    • These authors contributed equally to this work.

  • Eduardo Larios,

    1. Physics Department, University of Texas at San Antonio, One UTSA Circle, San Antonio, TX 78249 (USA)
    2. Departamento de Ingeniería Química, Universidad de Sonora, 83000 Hermosillo, Sonora (México)
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  • Dr. Kristine Liao,

    1. Materials Chemistry Research Group, Department of Chemistry, University of Toronto, 80 St. George Street, Toronto, Ontario M5S 3H6 (Canada)
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  • Jia Jia,

    1. Materials Chemistry Research Group, Department of Chemistry, University of Toronto, 80 St. George Street, Toronto, Ontario M5S 3H6 (Canada)
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  • Prof. Miguel Jose-Yacaman,

    1. Physics Department, University of Texas at San Antonio, One UTSA Circle, San Antonio, TX 78249 (USA)
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  • Prof. Geoffrey A. Ozin

    Corresponding author
    1. Materials Chemistry Research Group, Department of Chemistry, University of Toronto, 80 St. George Street, Toronto, Ontario M5S 3H6 (Canada)
    • Materials Chemistry Research Group, Department of Chemistry, University of Toronto, 80 St. George Street, Toronto, Ontario M5S 3H6 (Canada)===

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Abstract

Nanorods of triniobium hydroxide heptaoxide, Nb3O7(OH), were synthesized by means of a hydrothermal method. Subsequently, Pt and CuO nanoparticles were introduced on the surface of Nb3O7(OH) nanorods by a microwave-assisted solvothermal nucleation and growth technique. The resulting Pt- and CuO-decorated Nb3O7(OH) nanorods demonstrated uniform particle dispersion and were fully characterized by X-ray diffraction, electron microscopy, and spectroscopic analysis. Furthermore, the solar-powered photocatalytic hydrogen production properties of these heteronanostructures were studied. The solar-driven H2 formation rate over Pt-Nb3O7(OH) was determined to be 710.4±1.7 μmol g−1 h−1 with a quantum efficiency of ϕ=5.40 % at λ=380 nm. Interestingly, the as-prepared CuO-Nb3O7(OH) heteronanostructure was found to be inactive under solar irradiation during an induction phase, whereupon it undergoes an in situ photoreduction process to form the photocatalytically active Cu-Nb3O7(OH). This restructuring process was monitored by an in situ measurement of the time-evolution of the optical absorption spectra. The solar-powered H2 production for the restructured compound was determined to be 290.3±5.1 μmol g−1 h−1.

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