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


School of Energy Engineering, Kyungpook National University, Daegu, 41566, Korea. [Email]


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).

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