Sulfide Ligands in Hybrid Semiconductor-Metal Nanocrystal Photocatalysts: Improved Hole Extraction and Altered Catalysis

Adar Levi, Lior Verbitsky, Nir Waiskopf, Uri Banin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Hybrid semiconductor-metal nanocrystals manifest efficient photocatalytic activity related to the metal domain promoting charge carrier separation and providing an active catalytic site. The surface properties of such nanoparticles are also of paramount importance in determining their photocatalytic activity. Addressing the combination of surface effects in catalysis on metals, with the electronic properties of hybrid nanoparticles, we examined the effect of coating CdS-Au hybrid nanoparticles with sulfide, an anion that is expected to bind strongly to both domains, on the photocatalytic functionality. Upon sulfide coating, one-electron processes - namely the oxidative production of hydroxyl radicals and the reductive production of superoxide - were increased, whereas the activity for two-electron reduction processes - H2 and hydrogen peroxide generation - was hampered. These findings indicate a double-edged sword effect for sulfide coating that on one side relieves the hole extraction bottleneck from the semiconductor segment and, on the other hand, poisons the metal domain restricting its reductive capacity for the two-electron processes requiring a chemisorption step on the metal surface. The work further demonstrates the importance of surface properties for the photocatalytic action of such hybrid nanoparticle systems.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)647-653
Number of pages7
JournalACS applied materials & interfaces
Issue number1
StatePublished - 12 Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 American Chemical Society.


  • hybrid nanoparticles
  • hydrogen evolution
  • photocatalysis
  • reactive oxygen species
  • surface coating


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