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Facet Engineering of Pd Nanocrystals for Enhancing Photocatalytic Hydrogenation: Modulation of the Schottky Barrier Height and Enrichment of Surface Reactants

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

Metal cocatalyst loading is one of the most widely explored strategies in promoting photocatalytic solar energy conversion. Engineering surface-active facets of metal cocatalyst and exploring how they modulate the reactivity is crucial for the further development of advanced photocatalysts. In this work, through controlled hybridization of two-dimensional (2D) TiO2 nanosheets with well-designed Pd nanocube (Pd NC) with exposed {100} facet and Pd nano-octahedron (NO) with exposed {111} facet, we unravel the distinct crystal facet effect of Pd cocatalyst in promoting the selective hydrogenation of nitroarenes to amines of TiO2 photocatalyst. The activity tests show that the Pd NO with {111} facet is a more efficient cocatalyst than the Pd NC with exposed {100} facet. The prepared TiO2-Pd NO composite displays a 900% enhancement of photocatalytic hydrogenation rate in comparison with bare TiO2, while the TiO2-Pd NC sample only shows a 200% photoactivity enhancement. Microscopic mechanism study discloses that the distinctive photoactivity improvement of Pd NO is ascribed to the concurrent modulation of the Schottky barrier height and enrichment of surface reactants: (i) the Pd NO with a lower Fermi level could result in steeper band bending of TiO2 (i.e., higher Schottky barrier) than the Pd NC, which is more efficient in boosting interfacial separation and inhibiting the recombination of photoexcited charge pairs; and (ii) the {111} facet of Pd has higher nitroarenes adsorption ability and especially stronger hydrogen enrichment capability, thus accelerating the surface hydrogenation process and contributing to a higher reaction rate. This work emphasizes the rational facet control of cocatalysts for enhancing the photocatalytic hydrogenation performance.
Journal: ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
ISSN: 1944-8244
Issue: 11
Volume: 13
Pages: 13044 - 13054
Number of pages: 11
Publication year:2021
Keywords:Materials science