Photocatalytic hydrogen generation from water splitting offers a viable potential solution for utilizing solar energy. Here we report a feasible synthesis of flexible bio-inspired Zn0.5Cd0.5SΠAN (polyacrylonitrile) mat-shaped photocatalyst with leaf-like structure, which shows high photocatalytic H2-production activity with a rate of 475μmolh-1 per 50mg of the photocatalyst and an apparent quantum efficiency of 27.4% at 420nm. The hierarchically porous structure of the mat-shaped Zn0.5Cd0.5SΠAN greatly enhances the molecular diffusion/transfer kinetics, and enlarges the utilization efficiency of light through the multiple reflections and scattering effect. Moreover, a good dispersion of Zn0.5Cd0.5S nanoparticles (NPs) on the surface of PAN nanofibers prevents their aggregation. These features account for high H2-production activity of Zn0.5Cd0.5SΠAN. Remarkably, the integrity and flexibility of Zn0.5Cd0.5SΠAN mat-shaped photocatalyst facilitate their separation and re-use after photocatalytic reaction. Hierarchically porous leaf-like mat-shaped photocatalysts with high photocatalytic activity and stability should also find potential applications in solar cells, catalysis, separation and purification processes.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.