Infoscience

Journal article

Colloidal nanocrystals for photoelectrochemical and photocatalytic water splitting

Colloidal nanocrystals (NCs) are among the most modular and versatile nanomaterial platforms for studying emerging phenomena in different fields thanks to their superb compositional and morphological tunability. A promising, yet challenging, application involves the use of colloidal NCs as light absorbers and electrocatalysts for water splitting. In this review we discuss how the tunability of these materials is ideal to understand the complex phenomena behind storing energy in chemical bonds and to optimize performance through structural and compositional modification. First, we describe the colloidal synthesis method as a means to achieve a high degree of control over single material NCs and NC heterostructures, including examples of the role of the ligands in modulating size and shape. Next, we focus on the use of NCs as light absorbers and catalysts to drive both the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) and the oxygen evolution reaction (OER), together with some of the challenges related to the use of colloidal NCs as model systems and/or technological solution in water splitting. We conclude with a broader prospective on the use of colloidal chemistry for new material discovery.

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