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Photocatalyst releasing hydrogen from water

Nature volume 440, page 295 (16 March 2006) | Download Citation



Direct splitting of water using a particulate photocatalyst would be a good way to produce clean and recyclable hydrogen on a large scale1, and in the past 30 years various photocatalysts have been found that function under visible light2,3,4. Here we describe an advance in the catalysis of the overall splitting of water under visible light: the new catalyst is a solid solution of gallium and zinc nitrogen oxide5,6, (Ga1−xZnx)(N1−xOx), modified with nanoparticles of a mixed oxide of rhodium and chromium. The mixture functions as a promising and efficient photocatalyst in promoting the evolution of hydrogen gas.

Enhancing catalytic performance holds promise for hydrogen production by water splitting in sunlight.

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Author information


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

    • Kazuhiko Maeda
    • , Kentaro Teramura
    • , Tsuyoshi Takata
    •  & Kazunari Domen
  2. Solution Oriented Research for Science and Technology (SORST) programmes of the Japan Science and Technology Corporation, 4-1-8 Honcho, Kawaguchi-shi, Saitama 332-0012, Japan

    • Daling Lu
    •  & Kazunari Domen
  3. Department of Chemistry, Nagaoka University of Technology, Nagaoka 940-2188, Japan

    • Nobuo Saito
    •  & Yasunobu Inoue


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Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Kazunari Domen.

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    Supplementary methods


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    Supplementary movie

    Overall water splitting on the Rh–Cr mixed oxide-loaded (Ga1–xZnx)(N1–xOx) (sample B) at atmospheric pressure. In this case, where a Pyrex glass vessel is employed without any other light filtration, both ultraviolet light at 365 nm and visible light at 436 nm contribute to the reaction.

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