Spacer effects in metal-free organic dyes for visible-light-driven dye-sensitized photocatalytic hydrogen production

Motonori Watanabe, Hidehisa Hagiwara, Aoi Iribe, Yudai Ogata, Kenta Shiomi, Aleksandar Staykov, Shintaro Ida, Keiji Tanaka, Tatsumi Ishihara

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63 Citations (Scopus)


Metal-free organic dyes containing benzo[b]phenothiazine were synthesized and effectively used for dye-sensitized visible-light-driven photocatalytic hydrogen production. The materials exhibited high stability and hydrogen production when numerous π-conjugated bridges were inserted as spacers between the donor and the anchor moiety. Photocatalytic hydrogen production was investigated in a TiO2/dye/Pt structure using triethanolamine as the sacrificial reagent. Compound dye 3, which had the longest spacer between the donor and the acceptor, exhibited the best hydrogen production performance of the series examined in this study. It displayed a turnover number (TON) of 4460, a turnover frequency of 278 after 16 h, and a photo-quantum efficiency of 1.65% at 420 nm. Furthermore, it showed the longest electron injection lifetime because its coordination structure was considered to be vertically standing on the TiO2 surface by theoretical calculations. On the other hand, dye 1 showed the lowest hydrogen production performance with a TON of 483 and very short electron injection lifetime. This observation is confirmed by the computation results, which showed the lying geometry of 1 with monodentate coordination of the dye with respect to the TiO2 surface. This spacer effectproperty relationship study may provide a good strategy for the development of metal-free organic dyes for dye-sensitized photocatalytic water splitting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12952-12961
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Materials Chemistry A
Issue number32
Publication statusPublished - Aug 28 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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

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