Disordered layers on WO 3 nanoparticles enable photochemical generation of hydrogen from water

Luyang Wang, Chui Shan Tsang, Wei Liu, Xiandi Zhang, Kan Zhang, Enna Ha, Wai Ming Kwok, Jong Hyeok Park, Lawrence Yoon Suk Lee, Kwok Yin Wong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)


Tailored defects on a semiconductor surface can provide active catalytic sites and effectively tune the electronic structure for suitable optical properties. Herein, we report that surface modification of WO 3 with a disordered layer enables the photochemical hydrogen production from water. A simple room temperature solution process with lithium-ethylenediamine (Li-EDA) alters the surface of WO 3 with localized defects that form a thin disordered layer. Both structural and optical characterization reveal that such a disordered layer induces an upshift in the Fermi level and the elevation of the conduction band of WO 3 above the hydrogen reduction potential. Using an alkaline sacrificial agent, Li-EDA treated WO 3 shows a co-catalyst-free photochemical hydrogen evolution rate of 94.2 μmol g -1 h -1 under simulated sunlight. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first example of using WO 3 as a direct photocatalyst for hydrogen generation from water via simple surface defect engineering.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-227
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Materials Chemistry A
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 The Royal Society of Chemistry.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Materials Science(all)


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