Recent advances in hybrid photocatalysts for solar fuel production
Tran, Phong D.
Wong, Lydia Helena
Loo, Say Chye Joachim
Date of Issue2012
School of Materials Science and Engineering
Energy Research Institute
Converting solar energy into fuel via photo-assisted water splitting to generate hydrogen or drive CO2 reduction is an attractive scientific and technological goal to address the increasing global demand for energy and to reduce the impact of energy production on climate change. Engineering an efficient, low-cost photocatalyst is necessary to achieve this technological goal. A photocatalyst combines a photosensitiser and an electrocatalyst to capture light and accelerate the chemical reactions in the same device. In this perspective paper, we first describe the recent developments of some families of semiconductors that are attractive candidates for engineering photocatalysts. We then discuss the use of semiconductors as light harvesting agents, combined with a bio-catalyst, synthetic bio-mimetic molecular catalyst or synthetic all-inorganic catalyst, in photocatalytic hybrid systems for water splitting and CO2 reduction. To highlight the advantages of semiconductors for engineering efficient and robust photocatalysts, we compare these systems to examples of homogeneous photocatalytic systems constructed from molecular photosensitisers (dyes). We conclude that all-inorganic catalysts coupled to appropriate semiconductors look more promising for the construction of robust photocatalytic hybrid systems for producing solar fuels.
Energy & environmental science