Aspects of the water splitting mechanism on (Ga 1-xZn x)(N 1-xO x) photocatalyst modified with Rh 2-yCr yO 3 cocatalyst

Takashi Hisatomi, Kazuhiko Maeda, Kazuhiro Takanabe, Jun Kubota, Kazunari Domen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

109 Scopus citations


Aspects of the water splitting mechanism on (Ga 1-xZn x)(N 1-xO x) photocatalyst powder are discussed on the basis of the effects of cocatalyst loading, light intensity, hydrogen/deuterium isotopes, and reaction temperature on photocatalytic activity. The loading amount of Rh 2-yCr yO 3 cocatalyst significantly affected the photocatalytic behavior with varying light intensity. When the loading amount of Rh 2-yCr yO 3 as a H 2 evolution cocatalyst was insufficient, the reaction order for light intensity was lower than unity. This is because photoexcited electrons accumulated in the photocatalyst and recombined with photoexcited holes more frequently than they contributed to the water splitting reaction. When a sufficient amount of cocatalyst was loaded, on the other hand, accumulation of photoexcited electrons was suppressed and the water splitting rate increased monotonically with light intensity. At a light intensity equivalent to solar irradiation, AM1.5, the water splitting rate using modified (Ga 1-xZn x)(N 1-xO x) remained under the light-intensity-proportional regime. The isotope effect of H 2O/D 2O on overall water splitting using Rh 2-yCr yO 3/(Ga 1-xZn x)(N 1-xO x) was smaller than previously reported for electrochemical H 2 evolution reactions. Moreover, the apparent activation energy of the overall water splitting was as small as 8 kJ mol -1, and independent of the reactants. These results arise from the limited number of photoexcited carriers present in the Rh 2-yCr yO 3/(Ga 1-xZn x)(N 1-xO x), which should become available for redox reactions on the surface of the photocatalyst. A kinetic model of photocatalytic water splitting proposed in this work suggests that the reaction probability of photoexcited holes for O 2 evolution versus recombination with intrinsic electrons of the photocatalyst determines the photocatalytic activity of the Rh 2-yCr yO 3/(Ga 1-xZn x)(N 1-xO x).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21458-21466
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry C
Issue number51
StatePublished - Dec 1 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Energy(all)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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