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Characteristics of excited-state intermediates of TiO2–Y-Zeolite and MCM41 encapsulating photosensitive molecules: design of new photocatalysts

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Some photosensitive molecules, such as p-N,N′-dimethylaminobenzoic acid (DMABA), Nile Red, heteropolytungstic acid (H3PW12O40, HPA) and metalloporphyrins, have been entrapped onto nano-scale pores or channels of TiO2-modified Y-Zeolite (TiO2-Y-Zeolite) and MCM41 (TiO2-MCM41) and their excited-state intermediates have been characterized in terms of the excited-state dynamics by using laser spectroscopic techniques. Through these studies, it has been found that the photo-induced electrons are generated from the intramolecular charge transfer (ICT) state of DMABA, Nile Red or metalloporphyrin (MnTPP(Cl)), followed by transferring to the TiO2-Y-Zeolite or TiO2-MCM41 more efficiently as compared to the bulk TiO2, NaY-Zeolite or MCM41. The efficient photoinduced interfacial electron transfer causes the rapid formation of radicals of those photosensitive molecules (a few tens ps). It has been also found that these photophysical properties can be applied to develop the new photocatalyst as observed by the efficient photocatalytic activities of the DMABA or Nile Red-entrapped TiO2-Y-Zeolites for the photoreduction of an azo-dye such as Methyl Orange in water. On the other hand, in case of HPA-entrapped TiO2-Y-zeolite, the electron generated from the excited-state TiO2 is transferred to HPA, followed by formation of the reduction product, heteropoly blue (HPB) which is also generated by UV irradiation of HPA. This electron transfer is analogous to the Z-scheme mechanism of plant photosynthetic systems showing two photon reactions. Because of this photoelectron transfer mechanism, the HPA-entrapped TiO2-Y-zeolite has demonstrated the synergistic enhancement of the photocatalytic decomposition of Methyl Orange and hydrogen generation from photolysis of water.


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