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Flux Synthesis of Layered Oxyhalide Bi4NbO8Cl Photocatalyst for Efficient Z‑Scheme Water Splitting Under Visible Light

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journal contribution
posted on 24.08.2018, 20:16 by Kanta Ogawa, Akinobu Nakada, Hajime Suzuki, Osamu Tomita, Masanobu Higashi, Akinori Saeki, Hiroshi Kageyama, Ryu Abe
An oxyhalide photocatalyst Bi4NbO8Cl has recently been proven to stably oxidize water under visible light, enabling the Z-scheme water splitting when coupled with another photocatalyst for water reduction. We herein report the synthesis of Bi4NbO8Cl particles via a flux method, testing various molten salts to improve its crystallinity and hence photocatalytic activity. The eutectic mixture of CsCl/NaCl with a low melting point allowed the formation of single-phase Bi4NbO8Cl at as low as 650 °C. Thus, synthesized Bi4NbO8Cl particles exhibited a well-grown and plate-like shape while maintaining surface area considerably higher than those grown with others fluxes. They showed three times higher O2 evolution rate under visible light than the samples prepared via a solid-state reaction. Time-resolved microwave conductivity measurements revealed greater signals (approximately 4.8 times) owing to the free electrons in the conduction band, indicating much improved efficiency of carrier generation and/or its mobility. The loading of RuO2 or Pt cocatalyst on Bi4NbO8Cl further enhanced the activity for O2 evolution because of efficient capturing of free electrons, facilitating the surface chemical reactions. In combination with a H2-evolving photocatalyst Ru/SrTiO3:Rh along with an Fe3+/Fe2+ redox mediator, the RuO2/Bi4NbO8Cl is an excellent O2-evolving photocatalyst, exhibiting highly effective water splitting into H2 and O2 via the Z-scheme.