Step-scheme heterojunction photocatalysts for solar energy, water splitting, CO2 conversion, and bacterial inactivation: a review


Solar radiation is a sustainable, unlimited source of energy for electricity and chemical reactions, yet the conversion efficiency of actual processes is limited and controlled by photocarriers migration and separation. Enhancing the conversion efficiency would require to suppress the recombination of photogenerated electron–hole pairs and improve the low redox potentials. This can be done during the growth of step-scheme (S-scheme) heterojunctions. Here we review the charge transfer of S-scheme heterojunctions involving a reduction and oxidation photocatalyst in staggered band arrangement with Fermi level differences. We present factors determining the validation of the S-scheme mechanism with respective characterization techniques, including in situ and ex situ experiments, and theoretical studies. We show mechanistic drawbacks of traditional photocatalytic systems to highlight the advantages of S-scheme photocatalysts. We describe co-catalyst loading, bandgap tuning, and interfacial optimization that ultimately achieve highly efficient photocatalysis. Last, application for water splitting, CO2 conversion, pollutant degradation, bacterial inactivation and others is discussed.
QR Code: Link to publication