Well-defined Au/ZnO nanoparticle composites were prepared by modifying ZnO with preformed Au nanoparticles protected with bifunctional glutathione ligand. In this approach, the Au nanoparticles were highly monodisperse and their loading on ZnO surface could be precisely controlled by the anchoring conditions. Steady-state and time-resolved photoluminescence of the composites revealed the ability of the Au nanoparticles to efficiently extract conduction band electrons from the photoexcited ZnO. The composites exhibited strongly enhanced photocatalytic activity without requiring thermal activation process in degrading organic substrates in both oxidative and reductive pathways. A clear correlation between the photocatalytic activity and the Au loading was found for both oxidative and reductive photocatalytic reactions. These results demonstrate that thiolate-protected AuNPs can significantly enhance the charge separation by extracting electrons from the photoexcited ZnO and consequently improve the photocatalytic activity of the composites.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)