Hollow Nanostructures for Photocatalysis: Advantages and Challenges

Adv Mater. 2019 Sep;31(38):e1801369. doi: 10.1002/adma.201801369. Epub 2018 Aug 19.


Photocatalysis for solar-driven reactions promises a bright future in addressing energy and environmental challenges. The performance of photocatalysis is highly dependent on the design of photocatalysts, which can be rationally tailored to achieve efficient light harvesting, promoted charge separation and transport, and accelerated surface reactions. Due to its unique feature, semiconductors with hollow structure offer many advantages in photocatalyst design including improved light scattering and harvesting, reduced distance for charge migration and directed charge separation, and abundant surface reactive sites of the shells. Herein, the relationship between hollow nanostructures and their photocatalytic performance are discussed. The advantages of hollow nanostructures are summarized as: 1) enhancement in the light harvesting through light scattering and slow photon effects; 2) suppression of charge recombination by reducing charge transfer distance and directing separation of charge carriers; and 3) acceleration of the surface reactions by increasing accessible surface areas for separating the redox reactions spatially. Toward the end of the review, some insights into the key challenges and perspectives of hollow structured photocatalysts are also discussed, with a good hope to shed light on further promoting the rapid progress of this dynamic research field.

Keywords: charge separation; hollow nanostructures; light harvesting; photocatalysis; surface reactions.

Publication types

  • Review