The simultaneous control of the defect species and surface properties of semiconducting materials is a crucial aspect of improving photocatalytic performance, yet it remains challenging. Here, we synthesized Mg-Zr-codoped single-crystalline Ta3N5(Ta3N5:Mg+Zr) nanoparticles by a brief NH3nitridation process, exhibiting photocatalytic water reduction activity 45 times greater than that of pristine Ta3N5under visible light. A coherent picture of the relations between the defect species (comprising reduced Ta, nitrogen vacancies and oxygen impurities), surface properties (associated with dispersion of the Pt cocatalyst), charge carrier dynamics, and photocatalytic activities was drawn. The tuning of defects and simultaneous optimization of surface properties resulting from the codoping evidently resulted in the generation of high concentrations of long-lived electrons in this material as well as the efficient migration of these electrons to evenly distributed surface Pt sites. These effects greatly enhanced the photocatalytic activity. This work highlights the importance and feasibility of improving multiple properties of a catalytic material via a one-step strategy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Colloid and Surface Chemistry