J. Phys. Chem. Lett. Publication

J. Phys. Chem. Lett. Publication

Facet-Dependent Photoreduction on Single ZnO Crystals


Photocatalytic reactions occur at the crystal–solution interface, and hence specific crystal facet expression and surface defects can play an important role. Here we investigate the structure-related photoreduction at zinc oxide (ZnO) microparticles via integrated light and electron microscopy in combination with silver metal photodeposition. This enables a direct visualization of the photoreduction activity at specific crystallographic features. It is found that silver nanoparticle photodeposition on dumbbell-shaped crystals mainly takes place at the edges of O-terminated (0001̅) polar facets. In contrast, on ZnO microrods photodeposition is more homogeneously distributed with an increased activity at {101̅1̅} facets. Additional time-resolved measurements reveal a direct spatial link between the enhanced photoactivity and increased charge carrier lifetimes. These findings contradict previous observations based on indirect, bulk-scale experiments, assigning the highest photocatalytic activity to polar facets. The presented research demonstrates the need for advanced microscopy techniques to directly probe the location of photocatalytic activity.

DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpclett.6b02577


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