Impact of interfaces, and nanostructure on the performance of conjugated polymer photocatalysts for hydrogen production from water

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Abstract

The direct conversion of sunlight into hydrogen through water splitting and by converting carbon dioxide into useful chemical building blocks and fuels has been an active area of research since early reports in the 1970s. Most of the semiconductors that drive these photocatalytic processes have been inorganic semiconductors but since the first report of carbon nitride organic semiconductors have also been considered. Conjugated materials have been relatively extensively studied as photocatalysts for solar fuels generation over the last 5 years due to the synthetic control over composition and properties. The understanding of materials' properties, its impact on performance and underlying factors is still in its infancy. Here, we focus on the impact of interfaces, and nanostructure on fundamental processes which significantly contribute to performance in these organic photocatalysts. In particular, we focus on presenting explicit examples in understanding the interface of polymer photocatalysts with water and how it affects performance. Wetting has been shown to be a clear factor and we present strategies for increased wettability in conjugated polymer photocatalysts through modifications of the material. Furthermore, the limited exciton diffusion length in organic polymers has also been identified to affect the performance of these materials. Addressing this, we also discuss how increased internal and external surface areas increase the activity of organic polymer photocatalysts for hydrogen production from water.
Original languageEnglish
Article number4299
Number of pages55
JournalNanomaterials
Volume12
Issue number23
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Dec 2022

Keywords

  • photocatalysis
  • solar fuels
  • hydrogen generation
  • water splitting
  • carbon dioxide reduction
  • conjugated polymers
  • covalent organic frameworks
  • conjugated microporous polymers

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