A research team from Xinshu University in Japan has developed a photocatalyst that can split water into hydrogen and oxygen with a quantum efficiency close to 100%.
The team created a photocatalytic structure composed of semiconductor particles and catalysts. The H2 and O2 catalysts were selectively deposited on different faces of the SrTiO3 crystal particles. This structure of the photocatalyst effectively prevented losses during charge recombination, reaching the upper limit of quantum efficiency.
The researchers explained that two factors need to be improved for solar energy conversion efficiency in photocatalytic water splitting: expanding the wavelength range of light and increasing the quantum efficiency at each wavelength. In this case, the photocatalytic splitting of water is an endergonic reaction, including a multielectron transfer that occurs in a nonequilibrium state.
In this study, scientists have improved the design and principle of splitting water with high quantum efficiency. Scientists are confident that this knowledge will further develop the photocatalytic splitting of water to produce hydrogen.