Other affiliations: University of Nova Gorica, Energy Institute, Spanish National Research Council ...read more
Bio: Fernando Fresno is an academic researcher from IMDEA. The author has contributed to research in topics: Photocatalysis & Catalysis. The author has an hindex of 24, co-authored 67 publications receiving 2807 citations. Previous affiliations of Fernando Fresno include University of Nova Gorica & Energy Institute.
Papers published on a yearly basis
TL;DR: In this article, the main achievements obtained with photocatalyst alternatives to TiO2 in the three main niches for this technology are summarized, with an historical perspective, in order to assess which of the photoactive materials are best for each particular application.
Abstract: Since the early development of this technology in the 1970s, TiO2 constitutes the archetypical photocatalyst due to its relatively high efficiency, low cost and availability. However, during the last decade a considerable number of new photocatalytic materials, either semiconductor or not, have been proposed as potential substitutes of TiO2, particularly in the case of solar applications, for which this standard photocatalyst is not very suitable because of its wide band gap. Semiconductors based on cations with d0 configuration such Ta5+ or Nb5+, as well as oxides or nitrides of d10 elements such as Bi3+, In3+ or Ga3+ are among the most successful novel photocatalysts, but non-semiconductor solids like cation-interchanged zeolites also produce interesting results. In addition, some classical semiconductors like ZnO or CdS, initially discarded as a consequence of their poor stability under irradiation, have been reconsidered as feasible photocatalysts for particular applications. This growing body of data requires new analysis of the challenges and opportunities facing photocatalysis in order to assess which of the photoactive materials are best for each particular application. In this review, we summarize, with an historical perspective, the main achievements obtained with photocatalyst alternatives to TiO2 in the three main niches for this technology: water splitting for hydrogen production, decontamination and disinfection processes, and organic synthesis.
TL;DR: In this article, the state of the art of photocatalysis with regard to materials and systems, considering the well-established results, but also the emerging aspects, and the envisaged new directions of this technology in the near future.
Abstract: Research on photocatalytic materials has been a field in continuous expansion in the recent decades, as it is evidenced by the large number of articles published every year. So far, more than 190 different semiconductors have been assayed as suitable photocatalysts. To this figure, it is necessary to add the combinations with other functional materials or between different semiconductors, as well as their morphological modifications. Summing up the outcome of these different preparation strategies eventually leads to the enormous number of photocatalytic systems that have been reported in the scientific literature. Dealing with such an amount of information requires updated and educated guidance to select the most significant realizations, and it also calls for critical assessments on how the expectations are being fulfilled. This perspective article intends to assess the state of the art of photocatalysis with regard to materials and systems, considering the well-established results, but also the emerging aspects, and the envisaged new directions of this technology in the near future. In the first part, the most relevant achievements in this area, some of them already in the market while others still in development, will be reviewed according to the current understanding. The second part of the article is devoted to the most innovative and promising photocatalysts and related systems described in the open literature.
TL;DR: Examining the reaction over plasmonic silver-titanium dioxide using time-resolved, in situ techniques to follow the mechanism provides evidence of the key factors determining the enhancement of photoactivity under ultraviolet and visible irradiation, which have important implications for the design of solar energy conversion materials.
Abstract: Sunlight plays a critical role in the development of emerging sustainable energy conversion and storage technologies. Light-induced CO2 reduction by artificial photosynthesis is one of the cornerstones to produce renewable fuels and environmentally friendly chemicals. Interface interactions between plasmonic metal nanoparticles and semiconductors exhibit improved photoactivities under a wide range of the solar spectrum. However, the photo-induced charge transfer processes and their influence on photocatalysis with these materials are still under debate, mainly due to the complexity of the involved routes occurring at different timescales. Here, we use a combination of advanced in situ and time-resolved spectroscopies covering different timescales, combined with theoretical calculations, to unravel the overall mechanism of photocatalytic CO2 reduction by Ag/TiO2 catalysts. Our findings provide evidence of the key factors determining the enhancement of photoactivity under ultraviolet and visible irradiation, which have important implications for the design of solar energy conversion materials. Light-driven CO2 reduction provides a way to limit greenhouse gas concentrations, but understanding how materials accomplish this transformation is challenging. Here, authors examine the reaction over plasmonic silver-titanium dioxide using time-resolved, in situ techniques to follow the mechanism.
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors evaluated the activity of commercially available ferrites with different compositions, NiFe2O4, Ni0.5Zn0.4, ZnFe 2O4 and CuFe 2 o4, for hydrogen production by two-step thermochemical cycles, as a preliminary study for solar energy driven water splitting processes.
Abstract: In this work, we report on the evaluation of the activity of commercially available ferrites with different compositions, NiFe2O4, Ni0.5Zn0.5Fe2O4, ZnFe2O4, Cu0.5Zn0.5Fe2O4 and CuFe2O4, for hydrogen production by two-step thermochemical cycles, as a preliminary study for solar energy driven water splitting processes. The samples were acquired from Sigma–Aldrich, and are mainly composed of a spinel crystalline phase. The net hydrogen production after the first reduction–oxidation cycle decreases in the order NiFe2O4 > Ni0.5Zn0.5Fe2O4 > ZnFe2O4 > Cu0.5Zn0.5Fe2O4 > CuFe2O4, and so does the H2/O2 molar ratio, which is regarded as an indicator of potential cyclability. Considering these results, the nickel ferrite has been selected for longer term studies of thermochemical cycles. The results of four cycles with this ferrite show that the H2/O2 molar ratio of every two steps increases with the number of cycles, being the total amount stoichiometric regarding the water splitting reaction. The possible use of this nickel ferrite as a standard material for the comparison of results is proposed.
TL;DR: In this article, the photocatalytic activity of as-prepared photocatalyst was tested for the reduction of CO2 under UV light in a continuous flow gas-phase photoreactor.
Abstract: Pt/TiO2 and Pt/TiO2-COK-12 photocatalysts have been prepared by a deposition-precipitation method and characterized by means of X-ray diffraction (XRD), N2 adsorption isotherms, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), UV–vis diffuse reflectance spectroscopy (UV–vis DRS) and inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry (ICP-OES). The photocatalytic activity of as-prepared photocatalyst was tested for the photocatalytic reduction of CO2 under UV light in a continuous flow gas-phase photoreactor. CH4 and CO were detected as major carbon products for all photocatalysts, with minor amounts of CH3OH. Carbon monoxide is the main product obtained over TiO2 regardless of the presence of COK-12 as a mesoporous support, whereas Pt leads to CO2 reduction towards CH4 formation, with a selectivity that reaches ca. 100% with optimum loading. Supporting the Pt/TiO2 catalysts on COK-12 preserves the selectivity of the reaction towards CH4 and further improves the overall activity of the Pt/TiO2 materials. After-reaction attenuated total reflection infrared spectroscopy (ATR-IR) and in-situ near ambient pressure X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (NAP-XPS) have been employed to identify reaction intermediates and used to explain the observed selectivity trends.
TL;DR: It is anticipated that this review can stimulate a new research doorway to facilitate the next generation of g-C3N4-based photocatalysts with ameliorated performances by harnessing the outstanding structural, electronic, and optical properties for the development of a sustainable future without environmental detriment.
Abstract: As a fascinating conjugated polymer, graphitic carbon nitride (g-C3N4) has become a new research hotspot and drawn broad interdisciplinary attention as a metal-free and visible-light-responsive photocatalyst in the arena of solar energy conversion and environmental remediation. This is due to its appealing electronic band structure, high physicochemical stability, and “earth-abundant” nature. This critical review summarizes a panorama of the latest progress related to the design and construction of pristine g-C3N4 and g-C3N4-based nanocomposites, including (1) nanoarchitecture design of bare g-C3N4, such as hard and soft templating approaches, supramolecular preorganization assembly, exfoliation, and template-free synthesis routes, (2) functionalization of g-C3N4 at an atomic level (elemental doping) and molecular level (copolymerization), and (3) modification of g-C3N4 with well-matched energy levels of another semiconductor or a metal as a cocatalyst to form heterojunction nanostructures. The constructi...
TL;DR: In this paper, the development of different strategies to modify TiO2 for the utilization of visible light, including non metal and/or metal doping, dye sensitization and coupling semiconductors are discussed.
Abstract: Fujishima and Honda (1972) demonstrated the potential of titanium dioxide (TiO2) semiconductor materials to split water into hydrogen and oxygen in a photo-electrochemical cell. Their work triggered the development of semiconductor photocatalysis for a wide range of environmental and energy applications. One of the most significant scientific and commercial advances to date has been the development of visible light active (VLA) TiO2 photocatalytic materials. In this review, a background on TiO2 structure, properties and electronic properties in photocatalysis is presented. The development of different strategies to modify TiO2 for the utilization of visible light, including non metal and/or metal doping, dye sensitization and coupling semiconductors are discussed. Emphasis is given to the origin of visible light absorption and the reactive oxygen species generated, deduced by physicochemical and photoelectrochemical methods. Various applications of VLA TiO2, in terms of environmental remediation and in particular water treatment, disinfection and air purification, are illustrated. Comprehensive studies on the photocatalytic degradation of contaminants of emerging concern, including endocrine disrupting compounds, pharmaceuticals, pesticides, cyanotoxins and volatile organic compounds, with VLA TiO2 are discussed and compared to conventional UV-activated TiO2 nanomaterials. Recent advances in bacterial disinfection using VLA TiO2 are also reviewed. Issues concerning test protocols for real visible light activity and photocatalytic efficiencies with different light sources have been highlighted.
TL;DR: This article reviews state-of-the-art research activities in the field, focusing on the scientific and technological possibilities offered by photocatalytic materials, and highlights crucial issues that should be addressed in future research activities.
Abstract: Semiconductor photocatalysis has received much attention as a potential solution to the worldwide energy shortage and for counteracting environmental degradation. This article reviews state-of-the-art research activities in the field, focusing on the scientific and technological possibilities offered by photocatalytic materials. We begin with a survey of efforts to explore suitable materials and to optimize their energy band configurations for specific applications. We then examine the design and fabrication of advanced photocatalytic materials in the framework of nanotechnology. Many of the most recent advances in photocatalysis have been realized by selective control of the morphology of nanomaterials or by utilizing the collective properties of nano-assembly systems. Finally, we discuss the current theoretical understanding of key aspects of photocatalytic materials. This review also highlights crucial issues that should be addressed in future research activities.
TL;DR: The latest efforts using advanced characterization techniques, particularly electrochemical impedance spectroscopy, are presented to define the obstacles that remain to be surmounted in order to fully exploit the potential of hematite for solar energy conversion.
Abstract: Photoelectrochemical (PEC) cells offer the ability to convert electromagnetic energy from our largest renewable source, the Sun, to stored chemical energy through the splitting of water into molecular oxygen and hydrogen. Hematite (α-Fe(2)O(3)) has emerged as a promising photo-electrode material due to its significant light absorption, chemical stability in aqueous environments, and ample abundance. However, its performance as a water-oxidizing photoanode has been crucially limited by poor optoelectronic properties that lead to both low light harvesting efficiencies and a large requisite overpotential for photoassisted water oxidation. Recently, the application of nanostructuring techniques and advanced interfacial engineering has afforded landmark improvements in the performance of hematite photoanodes. In this review, new insights into the basic material properties, the attractive aspects, and the challenges in using hematite for photoelectrochemical (PEC) water splitting are first examined. Next, recent progress enhancing the photocurrent by precise morphology control and reducing the overpotential with surface treatments are critically detailed and compared. The latest efforts using advanced characterization techniques, particularly electrochemical impedance spectroscopy, are finally presented. These methods help to define the obstacles that remain to be surmounted in order to fully exploit the potential of this promising material for solar energy conversion.
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors present a review of the current approaches for the heterogeneous photocatalytic reduction of CO2 on TiO2 and other metal oxide, oxynitride, sulfide, and phosphide semiconductors.
Abstract: Rising atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide and the depletion of fossil fuel reserves raise serious concerns about the ensuing effects on the global climate and future energy supply. Utilizing the abundant solar energy to convert CO2 into fuels such as methane or methanol could address both problems simultaneously as well as provide a convenient means of energy storage. In this Review, current approaches for the heterogeneous photocatalytic reduction of CO2 on TiO2 and other metal oxide, oxynitride, sulfide, and phosphide semiconductors are presented. Research in this field is focused primarily on the development of novel nanostructured photocatalytic materials and on the investigation of the mechanism of the process, from light absorption through charge separation and transport to CO2 reduction pathways. The measures used to quantify the efficiency of the process are also discussed in detail.