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Carrier Step-by-Step Transport Initiated by Precise Defect Distribution Engineering for Efficient Photocatalytic Hydrogen Generation

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journal contribution
posted on 13.01.2017, 00:00 by Jiewei Chen, Gaoxiang Wu, Tianyue Wang, Xiaodan Li, Meicheng Li, Yuanhua Sang, Hong Liu
Semiconductor photocatalysts have been widely used for solar-to-hydrogen conversion; however, efficient photocatalytic hydrogen generation still remains a challenge. To improve the photocatalytic activity, the critical step is the transport of photogenerated carriers from bulk to surface. Here, we report the carrier step-by-step transport (CST) for semiconductor photocatalysts through precise defect engineering. In CST, carriers can fast transport from bulk to shallow traps in the defective subsurface first, and then transfer to the surface active acceptors. The key challenge of initiating CST lies in fine controlling defect distribution in semiconductor photocatalysts to introduce the special band matching between the crystalline bulk and defect-controllable surface, moderate bridgelike shallow traps induced by subsurface defects, and abundant surface active sites induced by surface defects. In our proof-of-concept demonstration, the CST was introduced into typical semiconductor TiO2 assisted by the fluorine-assisted kinetic hydrolysis method, and the designed TiO2 can exhibit the state-of-the-art photocatalytic hydrogen generation rate among anatase TiO2 up to 13.21 mmol h–1 g–1, which is 120 times enhanced compared with crystalline anatase TiO2 under sunlight. The CST initiated by precise defect distribution engineering provides a new sight on greatly improving photocatalytic hydrogen generation performance of semiconductor catalysts.