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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Supported black phosphorus nanosheets as hydrogen-evolving photocatalyst achieving 5.4% energy conversion efficiency at 353 K.

  • Author(s): Tian, Bin
  • Tian, Bining
  • Smith, Bethany
  • Scott, MC
  • Hua, Ruinian
  • Lei, Qin
  • Tian, Yue
  • et al.

Solar-driven water splitting using powdered catalysts is considered as the most economical means for hydrogen generation. However, four-electron-driven oxidation half-reaction showing slow kinetics, accompanying with insufficient light absorption and rapid carrier combination in photocatalysts leads to low solar-to-hydrogen energy conversion efficiency. Here, we report amorphous cobalt phosphide (Co-P)-supported black phosphorus nanosheets employed as photocatalysts can simultaneously address these issues. The nanosheets exhibit robust hydrogen evolution from pure water (pH = 6.8) without bias and hole scavengers, achieving an apparent quantum efficiency of 42.55% at 430 nm and energy conversion efficiency of over 5.4% at 353 K. This photocatalytic activity is attributed to extremely efficient utilization of solar energy (~75% of solar energy) by black phosphorus nanosheets and high-carrier separation efficiency by amorphous Co-P. The hybrid material design realizes efficient solar-to-chemical energy conversion in suspension, demonstrating the potential of black phosphorus-based materials as catalysts for solar hydrogen production.

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