Enhanced Solar-to-Hydrogen Generation with Broadband Epsilon-Near-Zero Nanostructured Photocatalysts

Yi Tian, Francisco Pelayo García de Arquer, Cao-Thang Dinh, Gael Favraud, Marcella Bonifazi, Jun Li, Min Liu, Xixiang Zhang, Xueli Zheng, Md. Golam Kibria, Sjoerd Hoogland, David Sinton, Edward H. Sargent, Andrea Fratalocchi

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35 Scopus citations


The direct conversion of solar energy into fuels or feedstock is an attractive approach to address increasing demand of renewable energy sources. Photocatalytic systems relying on the direct photoexcitation of metals have been explored to this end, a strategy that exploits the decay of plasmonic resonances into hot carriers. An efficient hot carrier generation and collection requires, ideally, their generation to be enclosed within few tens of nanometers at the metal interface, but it is challenging to achieve this across the broadband solar spectrum. Here the authors demonstrate a new photocatalyst for hydrogen evolution based on metal epsilon-near-zero metamaterials. The authors have designed these to achieve broadband strong light confinement at the metal interface across the entire solar spectrum. Using electron energy loss spectroscopy, the authors prove that hot carriers are generated in a broadband fashion within 10 nm in this system. The resulting photocatalyst achieves a hydrogen production rate of 9.5 µmol h-1 cm-2 that exceeds, by a factor of 3.2, that of the best previously reported plasmonic-based photocatalysts for the dissociation of H2 with 50 h stable operation.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1701165
JournalAdvanced Materials
Issue number27
StatePublished - May 8 2017

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): OSR-2016-CRG5-2995
Acknowledgements: Y.T. and F.P.G.d.A. contributed equally to this work. For the computer time, the authors used the resources of the KAUST Supercomputing Laboratory and the Redragon cluster of the Primalight group. This work was supported by KAUST (Award No. OSR-2016-CRG5-2995), the Ontario Research Fund-Research Excellence Program, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) of Canada, and the Connaught Global Challenges program of the University of Toronto.


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