Enhanced photocatalytic hydrogen evolution from organic semiconductor heterojunction nanoparticles

Jan Kosco, Matthew Bidwell, Hyojung Cha, Tyler Martin, Calvyn Travis Howells, Michael Sachs, Dalaver H. Anjum, Sandra Gonzalez Lopez, Lingyu Zou, Andrew Wadsworth, Weimin Zhang, Lisheng Zhang, James Tellam, Rachid Sougrat, Frédéric Laquai, Dean M. DeLongchamp, James R. Durrant, Iain McCulloch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

310 Scopus citations


Photocatalysts formed from a single organic semiconductor typically suffer from inefficient intrinsic charge generation, which leads to low photocatalytic activities. We demonstrate that incorporating a heterojunction between a donor polymer (PTB7-Th) and non-fullerene acceptor (EH-IDTBR) in organic nanoparticles (NPs) can result in hydrogen evolution photocatalysts with greatly enhanced photocatalytic activity. Control of the nanomorphology of these NPs was achieved by varying the stabilizing surfactant employed during NP fabrication, converting it from a core-shell structure to an intermixed donor/acceptor blend and increasing H2 evolution by an order of magnitude. The resulting photocatalysts display an unprecedentedly high H2 evolution rate of over 60,000 µmol h-1 g-1 under 350 to 800 nm illumination, and external quantum efficiencies over 6% in the region of maximum solar photon flux.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalNature Materials
StatePublished - Feb 3 2020

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: The research reported in this publication was supported by funding from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology Office of Sponsored Research (OSR) under awards no. OSR-2018-CARF/CCF-3079 and no. OSR-2015-CRG4-2572. This work was supported by the nSoft consortium. Certain commercial products or company names are identified here to describe our study adequately. Such identification is not intended to imply recommendation or endorsement by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, nor is it intended to imply that the products or names identified are necessarily the best available for the purpose


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