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.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by the Israel Science Foundation (grant no.1363/18). U.B. thanks the Alfred & Erica Larisch memorial chair.
© 2021 American Chemical Society.
- hybrid nanoparticles
- hydrogen evolution
- reactive oxygen species
- surface coating