Acta Phys. -Chim. Sin. ›› 2022, Vol. 38 ›› Issue (7): 2112037.doi: 10.3866/PKU.WHXB202112037

Special Issue: Heterojunction Photocatalytic Materials

• ARTICLE • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Enhanced Photocatalytic H2O2 Production over Inverse Opal ZnO@Polydopamine S-Scheme Heterojunctions

Gaowei Han1, Feiyan Xu2, Bei Cheng1, Youji Li3, Jiaguo Yu2, Liuyang Zhang2,*()   

  1. 1 State Key Laboratory of Advanced Technology for Materials Synthesis and Processing, Wuhan University of Technology, Wuhan 430070, China
    2 Laboratory of Solar Fuel, Faculty of Materials Science and Chemistry, China University of Geosciences, Wuhan 430074, China
    3 College of chemistry and Chemical engineering, Jishou University, Jishou 416000, Hunan Province, China
  • Received:2021-12-29 Accepted:2022-01-14 Published:2022-01-19
  • Contact: Liuyang Zhang
  • About author:Liuyang Zhang, Email:; Tel: +86-27-65277083
  • Supported by:
    the National Natural Science Foundation of China(52073223);the National Natural Science Foundation of China(51872220);the National Natural Science Foundation of China(51932007);the National Natural Science Foundation of China(51961135303);the National Natural Science Foundation of China(21871217);the National Natural Science Foundation of China(U1905215)


Photocatalytic H2O2 production is a sustainable and inexpensive process that requires water and gaseous O2 as raw materials and sunlight as the energy source. However, the slow kinetics of current photocatalysts limits its practical application. ZnO is commonly used as a photocatalytic material in the solar-to-chemical conversion, owing to its high electron mobility, nontoxicity, and relatively low cost. The adsorption capacity of H2O2 on the ZnO surface is low, which leads to the continuous production of H2O2. However, its photoresponse is limited to the ultraviolet (UV) region due to its wide bandgap (3.2 eV). Polydopamine (PDA) has emerged as an effective surface functionalization material in the field of photocatalysis due to its abundant functional groups. PDA can be strongly anchored onto the surface of a semiconducting photocatalyst through covalent and noncovalent bonds. The superior properties of PDA served as a motivation for this study. Herein, we prepare an inverse opal-structured porous PDA-modified ZnO (ZnO@PDA) photocatalyst by in situ self-polymerization of dopamine hydrochloride. The crystal structure, morphology, valency, stability, and energy band structure of photocatalysts are characterized by X-ray diffraction (XRD), Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), field-emission scanning electron microscopy (FE-SEM), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), UV-visible diffuse reflectance spectroscopy (UV-Vis DRS), electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS), Mott-Schottky curve (MS), and electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR). The experimental results showed that electrons in PDA are transferred to ZnO upon contact, which results in an electric field at their interface in the direction from PDA to ZnO. The photoexcited electrons in the ZnO conduction bands flow into PDA, driven by the electric field and bent bands, and are recombined with the holes of the highest occupied molecular orbital of PDA, thereby exhibiting an S-scheme charge transfer. This unique S-scheme mechanism ensures effective electron/hole separation and preserves the strong redox ability of used photocarriers. In addition, the inverse opal structure of ZnO@PDA promotes light-harvesting due to the supposed "slow photon" effect, as well as Bragg diffraction and scattering. Moreover, the enhanced surface area provides a high adsorption capacity and increased active sites for photocatalytic reactions. Therefore, the resulting ZnO@PDA (0.03% (atomic fraction) PDA) exhibits the optimal H2O2 production performance (1011.4 μmol·L-1·h-1), which is 4.4 and 8.9 times higher than pristine ZnO and PDA, respectively. The enhanced performance is ascribed to the improved light absorption, efficient charge separation, and strong redox capability of photocarriers in the S-scheme heterojunction. Therefore, this study provides a novel strategy for the design of inorganic/organic S-scheme heterojunctions for efficient photocatalytic H2O2 production.

Key words: Step-scheme heterojunction, Polydopamine, Inverse opal ZnO, Photocatalytic H2O2 production