M-Au/TiO2 (M = Ag, Pd, and Pt) nanophotocatalyst for overall solar water splitting: role of interfaces

Ambrose A. Melvin, Kavya Illath, Tanmay Das, Thirumalaiswamy Raja, Somnath Bhattacharyya, Chinnakonda S. Gopinath

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

199 Scopus citations


M-Au/TiO2 (M = Ag, Pd, Pt) composites were prepared through a facile one-pot photodeposition synthesis and evaluated for solar water splitting (SWS) with and without a sacrificial agent. The M-Au combination exhibits a dominant role in augmenting the H2 generation activity by forming a bi-metallic system. Degussa P25 was used as a TiO2 substrate to photodeposit Au followed by Au + M (M = Ag/Pd/Pt). The SWS activity of the M-Au/TiO2 was determined through photocatalytic H2 production in the presence of methanol as a sacrificial agent under one sun conditions with an AM1.5 filter. The highest H2 yield was observed for Pt0.5-Au1/TiO2 and was around 1.3 ± 0.07 mmol h-1 g-1, with an apparent quantum yield (AQY) of 6.4%. Pt0.5-Au1/TiO2 also demonstrated the same activity for 25 cycles of five hours each for 125 h. Critically, the same Pt0.5-Au1/TiO2 catalyst was active in overall SWS (OSWS) without any sacrificial agent, with an AQY = 0.8%. The amount of Au and/or Pt was varied to obtain the optimum composition and it was found that the Pt0.5-Au1/TiO2 composition exhibits the best activity. Detailed characterization by physico-chemical, spectral and microscopy measurements was carried out to obtain an in-depth understanding of the origin of the photocatalytic activity of Pt0.5-Au1/TiO2. These in-depth studies show that gold interacts predominantly with oxygen vacancies present on titania surfaces, and Pt preferentially interacts with gold for an effective electron-hole pair separation at Pt-Au interfaces and electron storage in metal particles. The Pt in Pt0.5-Au1/TiO2 is electronically and catalytically different from the Pt in Pt/TiO2 and it is predicted that the former suppresses the oxygen reduction reaction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13477-13488
Number of pages12
Issue number32
StatePublished - 28 Aug 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science


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