Review Article

Particulate photocatalysts for overall water splitting

  • Nature Reviews Materials 2, Article number: 17050 (2017)
  • doi:10.1038/natrevmats.2017.50
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Abstract

The conversion of solar energy to chemical energy is a promising way of generating renewable energy. Hydrogen production by means of water splitting over semiconductor photocatalysts is a simple, cost-effective approach to large-scale solar hydrogen synthesis. Since the discovery of the Honda–Fujishima effect, considerable progress has been made in this field, and numerous photocatalytic materials and water-splitting systems have been developed. In this Review, we summarize existing water-splitting systems based on particulate photocatalysts, focusing on the main components: light-harvesting semiconductors and co-catalysts. The essential design principles of the materials employed for overall water-splitting systems based on one-step and two-step photoexcitation are also discussed, concentrating on three elementary processes: photoabsorption, charge transfer and surface catalytic reactions. Finally, we outline challenges and potential advances associated with solar water splitting by particulate photocatalysts for future commercial applications.

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Acknowledgements

This work was primarily supported by the Artificial Photosynthesis Project of the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) and also received funding from a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (A) (No. 16H02417) and a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (C) (No. 16K06862).

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  1. Department of Chemical System Engineering, School of Engineering, The University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8656, Japan.

    • Shanshan Chen
    • , Tsuyoshi Takata
    •  & Kazunari Domen

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The authors declare no competing interests.

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Correspondence to Kazunari Domen.