Authors: Munoz-Batista, MJ; Meira, DM; Colon, G; Kubacka, A; Fernandez-Garcia, M

Angew. Chem.-Int. Edit.. vol: 57. page: 1433-7851.
Date: JAN 26. 2018.
Doi: 10.1002/anie.201709552.

Understanding how a photocatalyst modulates its oxidation state, size, and structure during a photocatalytic reaction under operando conditions is strongly limited by the mismatch between (catalyst) volume sampled by light and, to date, the physicochemical techniques and probes employed to study them. A synchrotron micro-beam X-ray absorption spectroscopy study together with the computational simulation and analysis (at the X-ray cell) of the light-matter interaction occurring in powdered TiO2-based monometallic Cu, Ni and bimetallic CuNi catalysts for hydrogen production from renewables was carried out. The combined information unveils an unexpected key catalytic role involving the phase contact between the reduced and oxidized non-noble metal phases in all catalysts and, additionally, reveals the source of the synergistic Cu-Ni interaction in the bimetallic material. The experimental method is applicable to operando studies of a wide variety of photocatalytic materials..