Interfacial Charge Modulation: An Efficient Strategy for Boosting Spatial Charge Separation on Semiconductor Photocatalysts

Xiaoping Tao, Yuying Gao, Shengyang Wang, Xiaoyu Wang, Yang Liu, Yue Zhao, Fengtao Fan, Michel Dupuis, Rengui Li, Can Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Surface modulation via injection or extraction of charge carriers in microelectric devices has been used to tune the energy band alignment for desired electrical and optical properties, yet not well recognized in photocatalysis field. Here, taking semiconductor bismuth tantalum oxyhalides (Bi 4 TaO 8 X) as examples, chemically inactive molybdenum oxide (MoO 3 ) with a large work function is introduced to qualitatively tune the properties of interfacial charges, achieving an evidently enhanced upward band bending and intensive built-in electric field. Such a simple charge modulation exhibits a remarkable improvement in photocatalytic water oxidation, reaching an apparent quantum efficiency of 25% at the input wavelength of 420 nm. The validity and generality of surface charge modulating strategy are further demonstrated using other semiconductors (e.g., C 3 N 4 ) and decorators (e.g., V 2 O 5 ). The findings not only provide a promising strategy for rationally manipulating the interfacial built-in electric field in photocatalysis but also pave the way to learn from microelectronic technologies to construct artificial photosynthesis systems for solar energy conversion.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1803951
JournalAdvanced Energy Materials
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - Apr 4 2019


  • charge modulation
  • charge separation
  • interface engineering
  • photocatalysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Materials Science(all)

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