Exploring the origin of enhanced activity and reaction pathway for Photocatalytic H-2 production on Au/B-TiO2 catalysts

Fenglong Wang, Yijiao Jiang*, Anil Gautam, Yarong Li, Rose Amal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Citations (Scopus)


Gold-embedded boron-doped TiO2 (Au/B-TiO2) photocatalysts were synthesized by a sol-gel hydrothermal method. The TEM images display that the gold nanoparticles were embedded into the B-TiO2 framework. Hydrogen evolution under light irradiation showed that doping of boron into TiO2 enhanced the photocatalytic activity. A further remarkable improvement of the activity was observed over the Au/B-TiO 2. Evidenced by B 1s XPS and 11B MAS NMR spectra, the embedment of Au nanoparticles contributes to the formation of more interstitial boron species in B-TiO2. In turn, it gives rise to surface or near-surface states facilitating the embedment of Au nanoparticles, as demonstrated by the Au 4f XPS spectra, which indicates the strong interaction between gold and the B-TiO2 framework. This specific synergy significantly contributes to the enhancement of photocatalytic activity. For the first time, the isotopic tracer studies using a gas chromatograph isotope ratio mass spectrometer along with a series of control experiments reveal that the produced hydrogen originated mainly from water rather than methanol, whereas the direct oxidation of methanol did not lead to hydrogen generation. Acting as a sacrificial reagent, methanol could be oxidized to formaldehyde by protons/water under oxygen-free conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1451-1457
Number of pages7
JournalACS Catalysis
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2 May 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • doped boron
  • embedded gold
  • hydrogen production
  • isotope tracer
  • reaction pathway


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