Direct evidence for hydrated protons as the active species in artificial photocatalytic water reduction into hydrogen

  • Feng Xiong
  • Zhengming Wang
  • Zongfang Wu
  • Guanghui Sun
  • Hong Xu
  • Peng Chai
  • Weixin Huang


Photocatalytic water reduction to hydrogen over oxide semiconductors is one of the most extensively investigated artificial photocatalytic reactions, but the nature of the active species has not yet been elucidated. Here, we successfully prepared Pt/rutile TiO2110) surfaces with hydrated proton species via co-adsorption of hydrogen and water and observed the photocatalytic reduction of hydrated protons to H2 upon UV light illumination. These results provide experimental evidence to prove hydrated protons as the active species for photocatalytic water reduction to hydrogen and demonstrate the occurrence of photocatalytic reduction of hydrated protons to H2 within the H-bonding network on the catalyst surface instead of directly on the catalyst surface. The Pt-TiO2 interface is capable of dissociating water to form hydroxyl groups that facilitate the formation of H-bonding network on the catalyst surface to enhance the photocatalytic H2 production. Our results greatly advance fundamental understanding of artificial photocatalytic water reduction.


surface chemistry reaction mechanism photocatalysis Pt/TiO2 H-bonding network 


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This work was supported by the National Key R & D Program of Ministry of Science and Technology of China (2017YFB0602205), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (21525313, 21761132005, 91745202), Chinese Academy of Sciences (KJZD-EW-M03), the Changjiang Scholars Program of Ministry of Education of China, the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities of Ministry of Education of China (WK2060030017, WK2060030024) and Collaborative Innovation Center of Suzhou Nano Science and Technology.

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11426_2018_9377_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (1.2 mb)
Direct Evidence for Hydrated Protons as the Active Species in Artificial Photocatalytic Water Reduction into Hydrogen


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Copyright information

© Science China Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Feng Xiong
    • 1
  • Zhengming Wang
    • 1
  • Zongfang Wu
    • 1
  • Guanghui Sun
    • 1
  • Hong Xu
    • 1
  • Peng Chai
    • 1
  • Weixin Huang
    • 1
  1. 1.Hefei National Laboratory for Physical Sciences at the Microscale, CAS Key Laboratory of Materials for Energy Conversion, Department of Chemical PhysicsUniversity of Science and Technology of ChinaHefeiChina

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