Due to the capability of utilizing light energy to drive chemical reactions, photocatalysis has been widely accepted as a green technology to help us address the increasingly severe environment and energy issues facing human society. To date, a large amount of research has been devoted to enhancing the properties of photocatalysts. As reported, coupling semiconductors with metals is one of the most effective methods to achieve high-performance photocatalysts. The excellent properties of metal/semiconductor (M/S) nanocomposite photocatalysts originate in two aspects: (i) improved charge separation at the metal-semiconductor interface; and (ii) increased absorption of visible light due to the surface plasmon resonance of metals. So far, many M/S nanocomposite photocatalysts with different structures have been developed for the application in environmental remediation, selective organic transformation, hydrogen evolution, and disinfection. Herein, we will give a review on the M/S nanocomposite photocatalysts, regarding their fundamentals, structures (as well as their typical synthetic approaches), applications and properties. Finally, we will also present our perspective on the future development of M/S nanocomposite photocatalysts.
Keywords: disinfection; environmental remediation; hydrogen evolution; nanocomposite photocatalyst; selective organic transformation.