Unveiling the charge transfer dynamics steered by built-in electric fields in BiOBr photocatalysts

Nat Commun. 2022 Apr 25;13(1):2230. doi: 10.1038/s41467-022-29825-0.

ABSTRACT

Construction of internal electric fields (IEFs) is crucial to realize efficient charge separation for charge-induced redox reactions, such as water splitting and CO2 reduction. However, a quantitative understanding of the charge transfer dynamics modulated by IEFs remains elusive. Here, electron microscopy study unveils that the non-equilibrium photo-excited electrons are collectively steered by two contiguous IEFs within binary (001)/(200) facet junctions of BiOBr platelets, and they exhibit characteristic Gaussian distribution profiles on reduction facets by using metal co-catalysts as probes. An analytical model justifies the Gaussian curve and allows us to measure the diffusion length and drift distance of electrons. The charge separation efficiency, as well as photocatalytic performances, are maximized when the platelet size is about twice the drift distance, either by tailoring particle dimensions or tuning IEF-dependent drift distances. The work offers great flexibility for precisely constructing high-performance particulate photocatalysts by understanding charge transfer dynamics.

PMID:35468890 | DOI:10.1038/s41467-022-29825-0

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