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Amorphous and Crystalline Sodium Tantalate Composites for Photocatalytic Water Splitting

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Grewe,  Tobias
Research Department Schüth, Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung, Max Planck Society;

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Tüysüz,  Harun
Research Group Tüysüz, Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Grewe, T., & Tüysüz, H. (2015). Amorphous and Crystalline Sodium Tantalate Composites for Photocatalytic Water Splitting. ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces, 7(41), 23153-23162. doi:10.1021/acsami.5b06965.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0029-0378-6
Abstract
A facile hydrothermal synthesis protocol for the fabrication of sodium tantalates for photocatalytic water splitting is presented. Mixtures of tantalum and sodium ethoxide precursors were dispersed in ethanol, and ammonium hydroxide solution was used as mineralizer. By adjusting the amount of mineralizer, a variety of sodium tantalates with various morphologies, textural parameters, band gaps, crystal phases, and degrees of crystallinity were fabricated. The reaction was carefully monitored with a pressure sensor inside the autoclave reactor, and the obtained samples were characterized using X-ray diffraction, transmission electron microscopy, N2-physisorption, and ultraviolet–visible light spectroscopy. Among the series, the amorphous sample and the composite sample that consists of amorphous and crystalline phases showed superior activity toward photocatalytic hydrogen production than highly crystalline samples. Particularly, an amorphous sodium tantalate with a small fraction of crystalline nanoparticles with perovskite structure was found to be the most active sample, reaching a hydrogen rate of 3.6 mmol h–1 from water/methanol without the use of any cocatalyst. Despite its amorphous nature, this photocatalyst gave an apparent photocatalyst activity of 1200 μmol g–1 L-1 h–1 W1–, which is 4.5-fold higher than highly crystalline NaTaO3. In addition, the most active sample gave promising activity for overall water splitting with a hydrogen production rate of 94 μmol h–1, which is superior to highly crystalline NaTaO3 prepared by conventional solid–solid state route.