Controlled loading of MoS2 on hierarchical porous TiO2 for enhanced photocatalytic hydrogen evolution

Ever since the breakthrough research on H2 photogeneration from water using TiO2 under UV-light irradiation, an enormous amount of research has been conducted on photochemical H2 evolution using different semiconductor-based photocatalysts. Consequently, a research paper titled “Controlled Loading of MoS2 on Hierarchical Porous TiO2 for Enhanced Photocatalytic Hydrogen Evolution” has been published by Prof Ranjit Thapa, Professor of Physics, SRM University – AP, as a co-author, in The Journal of Physical Chemistry C, having an Impact Factor of 4.189.

In this work, Prof Thapa describes three important factors for helping in the generation of hydrogen using proposed MoS2/TiO2 catalyst, (i) TiO2 for effective charge transfer, (ii) MoS2 for plasmon induction (iii) large surface area and active sites. It was shown that hierarchical porous TiO2 can be interfaced successfully with marigold-flower-like MoS2 flakes with intriguing photophysical properties, viz., visible-light response, controlled electron−hole recombination, and sustainable H2 production over prolonged light irradiation due to the synergic effect of flowerlike MoS2 and the fibrous wormhole mesoporous channel of TiO2. Further, the researchers have used density functional theory (DFT) to identify the active sites and calculated the change in Gibbs free energy (ΔGH). “We have also studied the charge density difference to understand about electron transfer pathway. The change free energy of hydrogen adsorption (ΔGH*) is a good indicator to estimate the hydrogen evolution activity in the acidic medium. From the DFT study, it is clear that O sites of MPT heterostructure are more favourable for HER reactivity”, said Prof Ranjit Thappa.

Social implications of the research:
In the last few decades, with the decline in non-renewable resources and increasing environmental pollution, significant attention has been given to renewable and clean energy domains. Hydrogen is considered one of the most suitable energy carriers due to its higher energy density per unit mass in comparison to other chemical fuels. In recent times, photocatalytic fission (Photocatalysis is a process in which light energy is used to drive pairs of chemical reactions. Through the absorption of light, an excited electron/hole pair is produced) of water has been considered an attractive solution for solar to chemical H2 energy conversion. Also, the process of water splitting is highly endothermic. Therefore, the development of an excellent, stable, efficient, and economical photocatalyst for ultrahigh H2 production efficiency is paramount to researchers.

This work is done in collaboration with the Department of Energy and Environmental Engineering, CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, Hyderabad 500007, India.

Prof Ranjit Thapa is doing an investigation to find the possibility of hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) on multiple borophene analogues (α, β12, χ3) on all unique sites. Understanding the role of the coordination number of the boron atoms in the borophene analogues with the HER efficiency, and studying the pathways Volmer-Tafel (V-T) on each site to understand the completed HER process on borophene analogues are his future research projects. His research group is also interested to identify the role of sigma and pi-electron occupancy on the V-T pathway.

Read the full paper here: https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.jpcc.1c01922

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