Increasing Solar Absorption for Photocatalysis with Black Hydrogenated Titanium Dioxide Nanocrystals

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Science  20 Jan 2011:
DOI: 10.1126/science.1200448


When used as a photocatalyst, titanium dioxide (TiO2) absorbs only ultraviolet light, and several approaches, including the use of dopants such as nitrogen, have been taken to narrow the band gap of TiO2. We demonstrate a conceptually different approach to enhancing solar absorption by introducing disorder in the surface layers of nanophase TiO2 through hydrogenation. We show that disorder-engineered TiO2 nanocrystals exhibit substantial solar-driven photocatalytic activities, including the photo-oxidation of organic molecules in water and producing hydrogen with the use of sacrificial donor.