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J Am Chem Soc. 2003 Mar 12;125(10):3082-9.

Highly efficient water splitting into H2 and O2 over lanthanum-doped NaTaO3 photocatalysts with high crystallinity and surface nanostructure.

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  • 1Department of Applied Chemistry, Faculty of Science, Science University of Tokyo, 1-3 Kagurazaka, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 162-8601, Japan.


NiO-loaded NaTaO(3) doped with lanthanum showed a high photocatalytic activity for water splitting into H(2) and O(2) in a stoichiometric amount under UV irradiation. The photocatalytic activity of NiO-loaded NaTaO(3) doped with lanthanum was 9 times higher than that of nondoped NiO-loaded NaTaO(3). The maximum apparent quantum yield of the NiO/NaTaO(3):La photocatalyst was 56% at 270 nm. The factors affecting the highly efficient photocatalytic water splitting were examined by using various characterization techniques. Electron microscope observations revealed that the particle sizes of NaTaO(3):La crystals (0.1-0.7 microm) were smaller than that of the nondoped NaTaO(3) crystal (2-3 microm) and that the ordered surface nanostructure with many characteristic steps was created by the lanthanum doping. The small particle size with a high crystallinity was advantageous to an increase in the probability of the reaction of photogenerated electrons and holes with water molecules toward the recombination. Transmission electron microscope observations and extended X-ray absorption fine structure analyses indicated that NiO cocatalysts were loaded on the edge of the nanostep structure of NaTaO(3):La photocatalysts as ultrafine particles. The H(2) evolution proceeded on the ultrafine NiO particles loaded on the edge while the O(2) evolution occurred at the groove of the nanostep structure. Thus, the reaction sites for H(2) evolution were separated from those of O(2) evolution over the ordered nanostep structure. The small particle size and the ordered surface nanostep structure of the NiO/NaTaO(3):La photocatalyst powder contributed to the highly efficient water splitting into H(2) and O(2).

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