A red metallic oxide photocatalyst

Xiaoxiang Xu, Chamnan Randorn, Paraskevi Efstathiou, John T. S. Irvine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

418 Citations (Scopus)


Light absorption across the bandgap in semiconductors is exploited in many important applications such as photovoltaics, light emitting diodes and photocatalytic conversion. Metals differ from semiconductors in that there is no energy gap separating occupied and unoccupied levels; however, it is still possible to excite electrons between bands. This is evidenced by materials with metallic properties that are also strongly coloured. An important question is whether such coloured metals could be used in light harvesting or similar applications. The high conductivity of a metal would preclude sufficient electric field being available to separate photocarriers; however, the high carrier mobility in a metal might also facilitate kinetic charge separation. Here we clearly demonstrate for the first time the use of a red metallic oxide, Sr1-xNbO3 as an effective photocatalyst. The material has been used under visible light to photocatalyse the oxidation of methylene blue and both the oxidation and reduction of water assisted by appropriate sacrificial elements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)595-598
Number of pages4
JournalNature Materials
Issue number7
Early online date29 Apr 2012
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2012


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