Acta Phys. -Chim. Sin. ›› 2016, Vol. 32 ›› Issue (1): 2-13.doi: 10.3866/PKU.WHXB201510192

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On the Importance of Surface Reactions on Semiconductor Photocatalysts for Solar Water Splitting

Xiao-Xia CHANG*(),Jin-Long GONG   

  • Received:2015-09-01 Published:2016-01-13
  • Contact: Xiao-Xia CHANG
  • Supported by:
    the National Natural Science Foundation of China(U1463205, 21222604, 51302185, 21525626)


One of the most appealing ways to resolve the worldwide energy crisis and environmental pollution is by converting solar energy into storable chemical energy as hydrogen through solar water splitting. The redox reactions of photogenerated charge carriers occurring on the surface of photocatalysts during the process of solar water splitting are particularly complex. Owing to the high reaction overpotentials and sluggish desorption kinetics of gas products, surface reaction is the rate-determining step in the solar water splitting process. Therefore, a great deal of attention has been focused on this specific research area. The recent advances and prospects for future directions regarding the importance of surface reactions for solar water splitting are presented. The main strategies to enhance the surface water splitting reaction kinetics are summarized. The roles and classifications of surface cocatalysts, as well as the effects of passivating the surface states and coating surface protective layers, are discussed by integrating the principles of photocatalysis. Prospects for the future development of surface reaction research are also proposed.

Key words: Photocatalytic water splitting, Surface reaction, Photocatalyst, Cocatalyst, Surface state, Protective layer


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