Main content area

Photocatalytic activity of gallium nitride for producing hydrogen from water under light irradiation

Kida, T., Minami, Y., Guan, G., Nagano, M., Akiyama, M., Yoshida, A.
Journal of materials science 2006 v.41 no.11 pp. 3527-3534
X-ray diffraction, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, energy, gallium, hydrogen, irradiation, methanol, nitrides, photocatalysis, redox potential, sodium hydroxide
Photocatalytic activity of powdered GaN for decomposing water into hydrogen under light irradiation was investigated. It was found that GaN has activity for producing hydrogen from water containing electron donors (Na₂S-Na₂SO₃, CH₃OH) without a loading of a noble metal; the obtained H₂ yield was ca. 150 μmol for a 200 h-Xe lamp (300 W) irradiation. The activity was increased by adding NaOH in the reaction solution due to the photo-etching of GaN by NaOH and concomitant removal of the native oxide from the surface, as confirmed by XPS, XRD, and PL measurements. The band energy scheme for GaN suggests that the conduction band edge of GaN is positioned at 0.5 V higher than the redox potential of H⁺/H₂. This large energy difference (overpotential) makes the photocatalytic H₂ evolution over GaN from water possible.