Metallic nanoparticles assisted photocatalysis has been emerging to improve the efficiency of many important processes like water splitting, reduction of CO2
O to form hydrocarbon fuels, and degradation of organic molecules.1
The efficiency of photocatalytic materials can be influenced in the presence of plasmonic metallic nanoparticles due to both radiative energy and electron transfer among them. In this study, the catalytic efficiency of TiO2
in the presence of silver nanoparticles is evaluated using one reduction and one oxidation reaction. We observed that the presence of Ag nanoparticles (~50nm) with TiO2
(~30nm) significantly enhance the important photocatalytic reduction like hydrogenation of CO2
derived bicarbonate to produce value-added chemicals such as formate in comparison to same quantity of TiO2
alone under the solar light (solar simulator, 1.5 AM). A high yield of formate (production rate 160 micromol/gm TiO2
.hr.), was achieved after reducing sodium bicarbonate in glycerol–water solution using Silver-TiO2
nanostrctures. However, the same photocatalytic system combining silver and TiO2
nanostructures adversely affect the degradation/ oxidation rate of Rhodamine B one of the important industrial pollutants. Further experiments with terephthalic acid (a probe for hydroxyl radical) reveal that presence of silver nanoparticles decrease TiO2
induced hydroxyl radical, which is required for photocatalytic oxidation of Rhodamine B. On the other hand, scavenging hydroxyl radical may have favorable effect on formate production as strongly oxidizing hydroxyl radicals may oxidize formate to produce •CO2−
, hence decreasing overall yield.2
To understand the mechanism better, we studied the Ag nanoparticle/TiO2-catalyzed photooxidation of Rhodamine B under two different excitation wavelengths, one corresponding to the bandgap of TiO2
(365 nm) and other corresponding to the plasmonic peak of Ag nanoparticles (450 nm). This enables us to separate processes associated with the plasmon resonance from those associated with electronic transitions in the TiO2
itself. This study indicates that plasmonic effect may not be important for the scavenging of hydroxyl radical by silver nanoparticles. From this study, we conclude that adding metallic nanoparticles with TiO2
does not always have unequivocal benefits. In general, understanding of charge transfer among metallic nanoparticles and photocatalysts under different geometric configuration can provide useful mechanistic information that may be used in the improvement of photocatalytic systems for the reduction of CO2
also stored in the form of carbonates.
1. Hou, W.; Cronin, S. B., A Review of Surface Plasmon Resonance-Enhanced Photocatalysis. Advanced Functional Materials 2013, 23 (13), 1612-1619.
2. Molinari, A.; Samiolo, L.; Amadelli, R., EPR spin trapping evidence of radical intermediates in the photo-reduction of bicarbonate/CO2 in TiO2 aqueous suspensions. Photochemical & Photobiological Sciences 2015, 14 (5), 1039-1046.