Anchoring ultrafine metallic and oxidized Pt nanoclusters on yolk-shell TiO2 for unprecedentedly high photocatalytic hydrogen production

10 Aug 2017

We demonstrate an alkali modification process to produce highly dispersed ultrafine Pt nanoclusters with metallic Pt$^0$ and oxidized Pt$^{2+}$ species as co-catalyst anchored on nanosheet-constructed yolk-shell TiO$_2$ (NYTiO$_2$-Pt) acting as light harvesting reactor for highly efficient photocatalytic H$_2$ production. Benefiting from the high surface area, highly dispersed ultrafine Pt nanoclusters (~0.6 nm) with Pt$^0$ and Pt$^{2+}$ species and special nanosheet-constructed yolk-shell structure, this novel light harvesting reactor exhibits excellent performance for photocatalytic H$_2$ production. The NYTiO$_2$-Pt-0.5 (0.188 wt% Pt) demonstrates an unprecedentedly high H$_2$ evolution rate of 20.88 mmol h$^{−1}$ g$^{−1}$ with excellent photocatalytic stability, which is 87 times than that of NYTiO$_2$-Pt-3.0 (0.24 mmol h$^{−1}$ g$^{−1}$, 1.88 wt% Pt), and also much higher than those of other TiO$_2$ nanostructures with the same Pt content. Such H$_2$ evolution rate is the highest reported for photocatalytic H$_2$ production with such a low Pt content under simulated solar light. Our strategy here suggests that via alkali modifying the photocatalysts, we can not only enhance the H$_2$ production for solar energy conversion but also significantly decrease the noble metal content for cost saving.