Theoretical insight into the roles of cocatalysts in the Ni-NiO/β-Ga2O3 photocatalyst for overall water splitting

Taifeng Liu, I.C. Tranca, Jingxiu Yang, Xin Zhou (Corresponding author), Can Li (Corresponding author)

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The formation and stability of Nin and (NiO)n (n = 1-4) clusters on the β-Ga2O3 surface have been studied by means of first-principles density functional theory calculations. It is found that the optimum interaction of the Nin and (NiO)n clusters with the surface requires different surface sites. This optimizes the formation of interfacial bonds between the atoms from clusters and the coordinatively unsaturated atoms from the surface. The stability of the adsorbed Ni clusters increases with the number of Ni atoms. In a Nin/Ga2O3 system, as the Ga unoccupied states overlap with the unoccupied Ni state, the excited electrons transferred from Ga to Ni participate in the proton reduction reaction. Our calculations show that (NiO)n clusters strongly adsorb on the Ga2O3 surface due to the negative adsorption energies within -1.9 eV to -3.7 eV. For (NiO)n/Ga2O3, occupied states from the (NiO)n cluster may accept the holes from O atoms in the Ga2O3 surface to take part in the photocatalytic water oxidation reaction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10309-10319
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Materials Chemistry A
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - 21 May 2015


  • Photocatalysis
  • Water splitting
  • NiO
  • Ga2O3
  • theory
  • DFT


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