American Chemical Society
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Electron Transfer Rate vs Recombination Losses in Photocatalytic H2 Generation on Pt-Decorated CdS Nanorods

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journal contribution
posted on 2016-11-07, 00:00 authored by Thomas Simon, Michael T. Carlson, Jacek K. Stolarczyk, Jochen Feldmann
Cadmium chalcogenide nanocrystals combined with co-catalyst nanoparticles hold promise for efficient solar to hydrogen conversion. Despite the progress, achieving high efficiency is hampered by high charge recombination rates and sample degradation. Here, we vary the decoration of platinum nanoparticles on CdS nanorods to demonstrate the important role of pathways for the photoelectrons to the co-catalyst. Contrary to expectations, the shortening of the path, by increasing the number of co-catalyst particles, increases the transfer rate but decreases the photocatalytic performance. This is because subsequent electron transfer to the acceptor is much slower; therefore, the recombination rate with the nearby holes increases. We show that with tip-decorated nanorods, the quantum yield of H2 production can reach and sustain nearly 90%, provided an efficient mechanism of mediated hole extraction is employed. The approach demonstrates that highly efficient photocatalysts may be prepared with only a minimal amount of co-catalyst and thereby suggests future pathways for solar to H2 conversion with semiconductor nanocrystals.