Enhanced photocatalytic hydrogen evolution from organic semiconductor heterojunction nanoparticles

Jan Kosco, Matthew Bidwell, Hyojung Cha, Tyler Martin, Calvyn T. Howells, Michael Sachs, Dalaver H. Anjum, Sandra Gonzalez Lopez, Lingyu Zou, Andrew Wadsworth, Weimin Zhang, Lisheng Zhang, James Tellam, Rachid Sougrat, Frédéric Laquai, Dean M. DeLongchamp, James R. Durrant, Iain McCulloch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

374 Scopus citations


Photocatalysts formed from a single organic semiconductor typically suffer from inefficient intrinsic charge generation, which leads to low photocatalytic activities. We demonstrate that incorporating a heterojunction between a donor polymer (PTB7-Th) and non-fullerene acceptor (EH-IDTBR) in organic nanoparticles (NPs) can result in hydrogen evolution photocatalysts with greatly enhanced photocatalytic activity. Control of the nanomorphology of these NPs was achieved by varying the stabilizing surfactant employed during NP fabrication, converting it from a core–shell structure to an intermixed donor/acceptor blend and increasing H2 evolution by an order of magnitude. The resulting photocatalysts display an unprecedentedly high H2 evolution rate of over 60,000 µmol h−1 g−1 under 350 to 800 nm illumination, and external quantum efficiencies over 6% in the region of maximum solar photon flux.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)559-565
Number of pages7
JournalNature Materials
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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