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Facile one-step synthesis and enhanced photocatalytic activity of a WC/ferroelectric nanocomposite

Zhang, Man, Wang, Yaqiong, Liu, Jianguo, Thangamuthu, Madasamy, Yue, Yajun, Yan, Zhongna, Feng, Jingyu, Zhang, Dou, Zhang, Hongtao, Guan, Shaoliang, Titirici, Maria-Magdalena, Abrahams, Isaac, Tang, Junwang, Zhang, Zhen, Dunn, Steve and Yan, Haixue 2021. Facile one-step synthesis and enhanced photocatalytic activity of a WC/ferroelectric nanocomposite. Journal of Materials Chemistry A: materials for energy and sustainability 9 (40) , pp. 22861-22870. 10.1039/D1TA04131B

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The development of noble-metal-free co-catalysts is seen as a viable strategy for improving the performance of semiconductor photocatalysts. Although the photocatalytic efficiency of ferroelectrics is typically low, it can be enhanced through the incorporation of a co-catalyst into nanocomposites. Here, we demonstrate the influence of ferroelectricity on the decolorization of rhodamine B under simulated solar light using RbBi2Ti2NbO10 and compared the performance with that of non-ferroelectric RbBi2Nb5O16. The decolorization rate for RbBi2Ti2NbO10 was 5 times greater than that of RbBi2Nb5O16. This behaviour can be explained in terms of ferroelectric polarization, which drives the separation of charge carriers. The photocatalytic activity of RbBi2Ti2NbO10 was further enhanced to over 30 times upon preparing a nanocomposite with tungsten carbide (WC) through high energy ball milling. This enhancement was attributed not only to the increased specific surface area, but also to the incorporated WC co-catalyst, which also serves as a source of plasmonic hot electrons and extends the photocatalytic activity into the visible light range. The WC/RbBi2Ti2NbO10 nanocomposite shows interesting water oxidation properties and evolves O2 with a rate of 68.5 μmol h−1 g−1 and a quantum yield of 3% at 420 nm. This work demonstrates a simple route for preparing WC containing nano-ferroelectric composites for solar energy conversion applications.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Chemistry
Cardiff Catalysis Institute (CCI)
Publisher: Royal Society of Chemistry
ISSN: 2050-7488
Funders: EPSRC National Facility for XPS (�HarwellXPS�)
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 16 September 2021
Date of Acceptance: 12 August 2021
Last Modified: 07 May 2023 01:07

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