Researchers from Nankai University synthesized a plasmonic photocatalyst and investigated its catalytic performance for photo-oxidation of aromatic alcohol
Titanium dioxide (TiO2) is an efficient photocatalyst and can eliminate environmental pollutants. It can be used to produce clean hydrogen energy through the efficient utilization of solar energy and even purify air. However, rapid recombination rate of the photo-generated electron–hole pairs and limited visible-light response has led to limited applications of pure TiO2. TiO2 can be doped with non-metals to further increase application of the semiconductor in solar energy. However, such modifications lead to extremely low reactivity and quantum efficiency, which fail to meet the requirements of practical applications.
Surface plasmon resonance (SPR) effect of plasmonic metal nanocomposites can be used to boost photocarrier generation. This in turn can contribute to enhance the catalytic performance under visible-light irradiation. Now, a team of researchers from Nankai University, China used gold and platinum nanoparticles with TiO2, and Nitrogen to develop a novel plasmonic photocatalyst— AuPt/N–TiO2. The photocatalyst was made using a photo-deposition–calcination technique. The team used gold nanoparticles to produce visible-light energy through the SPR effect. Platinum nanoparticles were used as a cocatalyst to capture energetic electrons from titanium dioxide. The approach led to a high solar-energy conversion efficiency. The plasmonic photocatalyst demonstrated the irradiation wavelength in the range 460–800 nanometers. According to the researchers, the reaction rate of the plasmonic photocatalyst was more than 24 times greater than that of TiO2
The apparent quantum yield for AuPt/N–TiO2 at 500 nm reached 5.86%, which demonstrated a successful functionalization of N–TiO2 by adding gold plasmonic nanoparticles and the platinum cocatalyst. The team also analyzed the effects light source intensity and wavelength in photocatalytic reactions. The team found that the as-prepared AuPt/N–TiO2 photocatalyst can lead to selective oxidation of benzyl alcohol under visible-light irradiation. Moreover, the plasmonic photocatalyst can also offer enhanced selectivity and yield in the process. The research was published in the journal MDPI Nanomaterials on March 7, 2019.
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