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An effective quaternary nano-sized Er³⁺:Y₃Al₅O₁₂/Pt–PdS/ZnS visible-light photocatalyst for H₂ production

Lu, Chunxiao, Chen, Yang, Li, Yun, Ma, Chunhong, Zhang, Hongbo, Guo, Yuwei, Wang, Jun
RSC advances 2015 v.5 no.67 pp. 54769-54776
X-ray diffraction, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, aqueous solutions, energy-dispersive X-ray analysis, hydrogen production, irradiation, luminescence, photocatalysis, photocatalysts, scanning electron microscopy, sodium sulfide, sodium sulfite, transmission electron microscopy, ultrasonics, ultraviolet-visible spectroscopy, xenon, zinc sulfide
A highly effective and stable up-conversion luminescence agent, Er³⁺:Y₃Al₅O₁₂, was synthesized by sol–gel and calcination methods. Then, as a novel visible-light photocatalyst, Er³⁺:Y₃Al₅O₁₂, Pt and PdS (as dual co-catalysts) decorated ZnS nano-sized composites, Er³⁺:Y₃Al₅O₁₂/Pt–PdS/ZnS, were fabricated by deposition–precipitation and ultrasonic dispersion methods. All prepared samples were characterized by X-ray diffractometry (XRD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX). UV-vis absorption and PL spectra of Er³⁺:Y₃Al₅O₁₂ were also determined. The visible-light photocatalytic H₂ production activity of the prepared Er³⁺:Y₃Al₅O₁₂/Pt–PdS/ZnS was evaluated by using Na₂S and Na₂SO₃ as sacrificial reagents in an aqueous solution under 300 W irradiation from a xenon lamp. In addition, some influential factors such as Er³⁺:Y₃Al₅O₁₂ and ZnS mass ratio, catalyst amount, irradiation time and irradiation intensity on visible-light photocatalytic H₂ production of Er³⁺:Y₃Al₅O₁₂/Pt–PdS/ZnS were investigated in detail. It was found that Er³⁺:Y₃Al₅O₁₂ can effectively improve the visible-light photocatalytic activity of ZnS. Particularly, Er³⁺:Y₃Al₅O₁₂/Pt–PdS/ZnS with 0.13 wt% PdS and 0.3 wt% Pt and a 0.30 : 1.00 mass ratio shows the highest photocatalytic H₂ production activity in the sulfide/sulfite (0.2 mol L⁻¹ Na₂S and 0.3 mol L⁻¹ Na₂SO₃) aqueous solution as sacrificial reagents.