Ag(I) ions working as a hole-transfer mediator in photoelectrocatalytic water oxidation on WO3 film

Tae Hwa Jeon, Damián Monllor–Satoca, Gun–hee –H Moon, Wooyul Kim, Hyoung–il –I Kim, Detlef W. Bahnemann, Hyunwoong Park, Wonyong Choi

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45 Citations (Scopus)


Ag(I) is commonly employed as an electron scavenger to promote water oxidation. In addition to its straightforward role as an electron acceptor, Ag(I) can also capture holes to generate the high-valent silver species. Herein, we demonstrate photoelectrocatalytic (PEC) water oxidation and concurrent dioxygen evolution by the silver redox cycle where Ag(I) acts as a hole-transfer mediator. Ag(I) enhances the PEC performance of WO3 electrodes at 1.23 V vs. RHE with increasing O2 evolution, while forming Ag(II) complexes (AgIINO3 +). Upon turning off both light and potential bias, the photocurrent immediately drops to zero, whereas O2 evolution continues over ~10 h with gradual bleaching of the colored complexes. This phenomenon is observed neither in the Ag(I)-free PEC reactions nor in the photocatalytic (i.e., bias-free) reactions with Ag(I). This study finds that the role of Ag(I) is not limited as an electron scavenger and calls for more thorough studies on the effect of Ag(I).

Original languageEnglish
Article number967
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Dec 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Global Research Laboratory (GRL) Program (No. NRF-2014K1A1A2041044) and “Next Generation Carbon Upcycling Project” (Project No. 2017M1A2A2046736), which were funded by the Korea Government (Ministry of Science and ICT) through the National Research Foundation (NRF). H.P. is grateful to the National Research Foundation of Korea (2019R1A2C2002602 and 2019M1A2A2065616).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, The Author(s).

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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