Single Atoms in Photocatalysis: Low Loading Is Good Enough!

Qin S, Will J, Kim H, Denisov N, Carl S, Spiecker E, Schmuki P (2023)

Publication Type: Journal article

Publication year: 2023


Pages Range: 1209-1214

DOI: 10.1021/acsenergylett.2c02801


We disperse Pt single atoms (SAs) with different loading densities on anatase TiO2 thin films and evaluate the photocatalytic H2 generation as a function of the incident light intensity. We show that under common illumination intensities (such as terrestrial solar illumination), a minuscule Pt SA loading of ∼105 atoms μm-2 (surface Pt content ∼0.1 at.%) is sufficient to achieve a maximized H2 production rate. This results in a maximum turnover frequency at a single Pt atom site of ∼300 H2 molecules s-1. For a vast majority of illumination conditions and a suitable surface configuration, it is not the density of co-catalytic sites that is rate-determining (a high loading is not needed!), but the charge carrier generation (and flux of photoelectrons to the co-catalytic centers) determines the overall reaction rate. This is in stark contrast to SA catalysis of classic chemical reactions where generally a maximum loading of reactive SA delivers a maximum activity.

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Qin, S., Will, J., Kim, H., Denisov, N., Carl, S., Spiecker, E., & Schmuki, P. (2023). Single Atoms in Photocatalysis: Low Loading Is Good Enough! ACS Energy Letters, 1209-1214.


Qin, Shanshan, et al. "Single Atoms in Photocatalysis: Low Loading Is Good Enough!" ACS Energy Letters (2023): 1209-1214.

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