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Layered lithium niobium (III) oxide - LiNbO2 as a visible-light-driven photocatalyst for H2 evolution

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Xiaoxiang Xu, Gang Liu, Shuang Ni, John T. S. Irvine

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The search for visible-light photocatalysts is of great significance in clean energy and environmental applications to best utilise solar radiation. Some layered semiconductor photocatalysts have been found to exhibit promising performance levels. Their superior activity has been linked to the layering within the crystal structure, which may facilitate separation of carriers and, hence the reduction and oxidation reactions. Previous investigations on layered materials focused on oxides containing early transition metal cations with d0 electronic configurations utilising ultraviolet radiation. Attempts to synthesise layered materials with visible light response have been less successful and the photoactivity of such materials is not very high. Here, we have investigated a layered semiconducting compound, LiNbO2 with nominal d2 electronic configuration (Nb3+). As a result of a sub-valence band originating from filled d orbitals, LiNbO2 exhibits visible light absorption extending to 650 nm and demonstrates interesting photocatalytic activity for hydrogen production.


Original languageEnglish
Article number015001
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Physics: Energy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 20 Nov 2018

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