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Surface Basicity of Metal@TiO2 to Enhance Photocatalytic Efficiency for CO2 Reduction

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journal contribution
posted on 09.08.2021, 17:39 by Lei Jin, Ehab Shaaban, Scott Bamonte, Daniel Cintron, Seth Shuster, Lei Zhang, Gonghu Li, Jie He
Photocatalytic reduction of CO2 to valuable chemical fuels is of broad interest, given its potential to activate stable greenhouse CO2 using renewable energy input. We report how to choose the right metal cocatalysts in combination with the surface basicity of TiO2 to enhance their photocatalytic efficiency for CO2 photoreduction. Uniform ligand-free metal nanoparticles (NPs) of Ag, Cu, Au, Pd, and Pt, supported on TiO2, are active for CO2 photoreduction using water as an electron donor. The group XI metals show a high selectivity to CO and Ag/TiO2 is most active to produce CO at a rate of 5.2 μmol g–1 h–1. The group X metals, e.g., Pd and Pt, mainly generate hydrocarbons including methane and ethane, and Pd/TiO2 is slightly more active in methane production at a rate of 2.4 μmol g–1 h–1. The activity of these photocatalysts can be enhanced by varying the surface basicity of TiO2 with primary amines. However, proton reduction selectivity is greatly enhanced in the presence of amine except amine-modified Ag/TiO2, which shows an activity enhancement by 2.4 times solely for CO2 photoreduction as compared to that without amines without switching its selectivity to proton reduction. Using in situ infrared spectroscopy and CO stripping voltammetry, we demonstrate that the improvement of electron density and the low proton affinity of metal cocatalysts are of key importance in CO2 photoreduction. As a systematic study, our results provide a guideline on the right choice of metals in combination of the surface functionality to tune the photocatalytic efficiency of supported metal NPs on TiO2 for selective CO2 photoreduction.