A TiO2 Nanoparticle System for Sacrificial Solar H2 Production Prepared by Rational Combination of a Hydrogenase with a Ruthenium Photosensitizer

  • Erwin Reisner
  • Fraser A. Armstrong
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 743)


A hybrid system comprising a hydrogenase and a photosensitizer co-attached to a nanoparticle serves as a rational model for fast dihydrogen (H2) production using visible light. This chapter describes a stepwise procedure for preparing TiO2 nanoparticles functionalized with a hydrogenase from Desulfomicrobium baculatum (Db [NiFeSe]-H) and a tris(bipyridyl)ruthenium photosensitizer (RuP). Upon irradiation with visible light, these particles produce H2 from neutral water at room temperature in the presence of a sacrificial electron donor – a test-system for the cathodic half reaction of water splitting. In particular, we describe how a hydrogenase and a photosensitizer with desired properties, including strong adsorption on TiO2, can be selected by electrochemical methods. The catalyst Db [NiFeSe]-H is selected for its high H2 production activity even when H2 and traces of O2 are present. Adsorption of Db [NiFeSe]-H and RuP on TiO2 electrodes results in high electrochemical and photocatalytic activities that translate into nanoparticles exhibiting efficient light harvesting, charge separation, and sacrificial H2 generation.

Key words

Hydrogenase H2 production ruthenium titanium dioxide electrochemistry photochemistry 



This work was supported by BBSRC (BB/D52222X/1 and BB/H003878-1) and EPSRC (Supergen 5 and EP/H00338X/1).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Chemistry, University of CambridgeCambridgeUK

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