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Open AccessConcept Paper

Photocatalytic Activity: Experimental Features to Report in Heterogeneous Photocatalysis

Department of Chemistry, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506, USA
Center for Applied Energy Research, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40511, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Materials 2018, 11(10), 1990;
Received: 14 September 2018 / Revised: 7 October 2018 / Accepted: 10 October 2018 / Published: 15 October 2018
PDF [1649 KB, uploaded 15 October 2018]


Heterogeneous photocatalysis is a prominent area of research with major applications in solar energy conversion, air pollution mitigation, and removal of contaminants from water. A large number of scientific papers related to the photocatalysis field and its environmental applications are published in different journals specializing in materials and nanomaterials. However, many problems exist in the conception of papers by authors unfamiliar with standard characterization methods of photocatalysts as well as with the procedures needed to determine photocatalytic activities based on the determination of “apparent quantum efficiencies” within a wavelength interval or “apparent quantum yields” in the case of using monochromatic light. In this regard, an astonishing number of recent research articles include claims of highly efficient (photo)catalysts or similar terms about materials with superior or enhanced efficiency for a given reaction without proper experimental support. Consequently, the comparison of the efficiencies of photocatalysts may result as being meaningless, especially when reports are only based on expressions determining (1) a reaction rate per weight of catalyst or its surface area, (2) quantum efficiencies or quantum yields, and (3) turnover frequencies or turnover numbers. Herein, we summarize the standards needed for reporting valuable data in photocatalysis and highlight some common discrepancies found in the literature. This work should inform researchers interested in reporting photocatalysis projects about the correct procedures for collecting experimental data and properly characterizing the materials by providing examples and key supporting literature. View Full-Text
Keywords: heterogeneous photocatalysis; photocatalytic activity; photocatalytic efficiency; rate per weight; apparent quantum efficiency heterogeneous photocatalysis; photocatalytic activity; photocatalytic efficiency; rate per weight; apparent quantum efficiency

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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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Hoque, M.A.; Guzman, M.I. Photocatalytic Activity: Experimental Features to Report in Heterogeneous Photocatalysis. Materials 2018, 11, 1990.

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