Photocatalytic hydrogen evolution from water splitting using Cu doped ZnS microspheres under visible light irradiation


Cu/ZnS microspheres were synthesized using microwave-assisted method without template.

Maximum H2 evolution rate of 973.1 μmol h−1 g−1 at pH 3 was achieved.

2.0 mol% Cu2+ ion dopping on Cu/ZnS appears the best performance on H2 evolution.

More negative reduction potential of the conduction band is formed as the copper increases.


Cu/ZnS microspheres have been successfully synthesized using microwave irradiation method without using any template. Cu/ZnS microspheres were characterized by X-ray diffraction (XRD), field emission scanning electron microscopy (FE-SEM), high resolution transmission electron microscopy (HR-TEM), inductively coupled plasma optima optical emission spectrometer (ICP-OES), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), diffused reflectance spectroscopy (DRS), and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) methods. Tuning of band gap from 3.43 to 2.36 eV was successfully achieved upon doping copper (0–10%) into ZnS. The photocatalytic activity was investigated by photosplitting of water containing an aqueous Na2S solution under visible light irradiation. Among the prepared photocatalysts, the hydrogen evolution rate reaches the maximum of about 973.1 μmol h−1 g−1 for 2.0 mol% Cu2+ ion doped ZnS. Moreover, Cu/ZnS microspheres were found photocatalytically stable during the 48 h test runs.

Graphical abstract


  • Microwave irradiation;
  • Zinc sulfide;
  • Microspheres;
  • Water splitting;
  • Hydrogen evolution

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