Solar hydrogen production using carbon quantum dots and a molecular nickel catalyst.

Academic Article


  • Carbon quantum dots (CQDs) are established as excellent photosensitizers in combination with a molecular catalyst for solar light driven hydrogen production in aqueous solution. The inexpensive CQDs can be prepared by straightforward thermolysis of citric acid in a simple one-pot, multigram synthesis and are therefore scalable. The CQDs produced reducing equivalents under solar irradiation in a homogeneous photocatalytic system with a Ni-bis(diphosphine) catalyst, giving an activity of 398 μmolH2 (gCQD)(-1) h(-1) and a "per Ni catalyst" turnover frequency of 41 h(-1). The CQDs displayed activity in the visible region beyond λ > 455 nm and maintained their full photocatalytic activity for at least 1 day under full solar spectrum irradiation. A high quantum efficiency of 1.4% was recorded for the noble- and toxic-metal free photocatalytic system. Thus, CQDs are shown to be a highly sustainable light-absorbing material for photocatalytic schemes, which are not limited by cost, toxicity, or lack of scalability. The photocatalytic hybrid system was limited by the lifetime of the molecular catalyst, and intriguingly, no photocatalytic activity was observed using the CQDs and 3d transition metal salts or platinum precursors. This observation highlights the advantage of using a molecular catalyst over commonly used heterogeneous catalysts in this photocatalytic system.
  • Authors

  • Martindale, Benjamin CM
  • Hutton, Georgina AM
  • Caputo, Christine
  • Reisner, Erwin
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • May 13, 2015
  • Has Subject Area

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 25864839
  • Start Page

  • 6018
  • End Page

  • 6025
  • Volume

  • 137
  • Issue

  • 18