Role of Water and Carbonates in Photocatalytic Transformation of CO2 to CH4 on Titania

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Chemical Sciences and Engineering Division, Center for Nanoscale Materials, and §Materials Science Division, Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, Illinois 60439, United States
# Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 60208, United States
Cite this: J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2011, 133, 11, 3964–3971
Publication Date (Web):February 24, 2011
Copyright © 2011 American Chemical Society
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Using the electron paramagnetic resonance technique, we have elucidated the multiple roles of water and carbonates in the overall photocatalytic reduction of carbon dioxide to methane over titania nanoparticles. The formation of H atoms (reduction product) and OH radicals (oxidation product) from water, and CO3 radical anions (oxidation product) from carbonates, was detected in CO2-saturated titania aqueous dispersion under UV illumination. Additionally, methoxyl, OCH3, and methyl, CH3, radicals were identified as reaction intermediates. The two-electron, one-proton reaction proposed as an initial step in the reduction of CO2 on the surface of TiO2 is supported by the results of first-principles calculations.

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Determination of quantum yield for CH4 formation; evolution of EPR spectra with time of illumination and CO2 concentration, together with EPR spectra of reference samples (blank experiments), for both direct and spin-trap EPR measurements; electron density distribution from PBE calculations. This material is available free of charge via the Internet at

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