Heteropolyacid-Based Materials as Heterogeneous Photocatalysts



Heteropolyacids (HPAs) that are often used as heteropolyanions are cheap and stable compounds that have been extensively used as acid and oxidation catalysts as a result of their strong Brønsted acidity and ability to undergo multielectron-transfer reactions. HPAs, which are very soluble in water and polar solvents, have been also used as homogeneous photocatalysts for the oxidation of organic substrates in the presence of oxygen, but their use in heterogeneous systems is by far desirable. Dispersing HPAs onto solid supports with high surface area is useful to increase their specific surface area and hence (photo)catalytic activity. Moreover, owing to the high energy gap between the HOMO and LUMO positions of the HPAs, these compounds are activated only by UV light. Consequently, only less than 5 % of the solar light can be used in photocatalytic reactions, which restricts the practical application of HPAs. This microreview is oriented to describe the reported literature on the use of HPA-based materials as heterogeneous photocatalysts for environmental purposes, that is, for the complete or partial oxidation or reduction of organic molecules.