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Molecules 2016, 21(7), 900; doi:10.3390/molecules21070900

Photocatalytic Water Splitting—The Untamed Dream: A Review of Recent Advances

1
Institute of Materials Science, University of Connecticut, 91 North Eagleville Road, Storrs, CT 06269-3222, USA
2
Department of Chemistry, University of Connecticut, 55 North Eagleville Road, Storrs, CT 06269-3060, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Nick Serpone
Received: 27 May 2016 / Revised: 30 June 2016 / Accepted: 5 July 2016 / Published: 9 July 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Photocatalytic Water Splitting—the Untamed Dream)
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Abstract

Photocatalytic water splitting using sunlight is a promising technology capable of providing high energy yield without pollutant byproducts. Herein, we review various aspects of this technology including chemical reactions, physiochemical conditions and photocatalyst types such as metal oxides, sulfides, nitrides, nanocomposites, and doped materials followed by recent advances in computational modeling of photoactive materials. As the best-known catalyst for photocatalytic hydrogen and oxygen evolution, TiO2 is discussed in a separate section, along with its challenges such as the wide band gap, large overpotential for hydrogen evolution, and rapid recombination of produced electron-hole pairs. Various approaches are addressed to overcome these shortcomings, such as doping with different elements, heterojunction catalysts, noble metal deposition, and surface modification. Development of a photocatalytic corrosion resistant, visible light absorbing, defect-tuned material with small particle size is the key to complete the sunlight to hydrogen cycle efficiently. Computational studies have opened new avenues to understand and predict the electronic density of states and band structure of advanced materials and could pave the way for the rational design of efficient photocatalysts for water splitting. Future directions are focused on developing innovative junction architectures, novel synthesis methods and optimizing the existing active materials to enhance charge transfer, visible light absorption, reducing the gas evolution overpotential and maintaining chemical and physical stability. View Full-Text
Keywords: water splitting; solar fuels; hydrogen; photocatalysis; photocatalysts; semiconductors; nanomaterials; metal oxides; nanotechnology water splitting; solar fuels; hydrogen; photocatalysis; photocatalysts; semiconductors; nanomaterials; metal oxides; nanotechnology
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Jafari, T.; Moharreri, E.; Amin, A.S.; Miao, R.; Song, W.; Suib, S.L. Photocatalytic Water Splitting—The Untamed Dream: A Review of Recent Advances. Molecules 2016, 21, 900.

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