Photocatalytic activity: Experimental features to report in heterogeneous photocatalysis

Md Ariful Hoque, Marcelo I. Guzman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


Heterogeneous photocatalysis is a prominent area of research with major applications in solar energy conversion, air pollution mitigation, and removal of contaminants from water. A large number of scientific papers related to the photocatalysis field and its environmental applications are published in different journals specializing in materials and nanomaterials. However, many problems exist in the conception of papers by authors unfamiliar with standard characterization methods of photocatalysts as well as with the procedures needed to determine photocatalytic activities based on the determination of "apparent quantum efficiencies" within a wavelength interval or "apparent quantum yields" in the case of using monochromatic light. In this regard, an astonishing number of recent research articles include claims of highly efficient (photo)catalysts or similar terms about materials with superior or enhanced efficiency for a given reaction without proper experimental support. Consequently, the comparison of the efficiencies of photocatalysts may result as being meaningless, especially when reports are only based on expressions determining (1) a reaction rate per weight of catalyst or its surface area, (2) quantum efficiencies or quantum yields, and (3) turnover frequencies or turnover numbers. Herein, we summarize the standards needed for reporting valuable data in photocatalysis and highlight some common discrepancies found in the literature. This work should inform researchers interested in reporting photocatalysis projects about the correct procedures for collecting experimental data and properly characterizing the materials by providing examples and key supporting literature.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1990
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 15 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 by the authors.


  • Apparent quantum efficiency
  • Heterogeneous photocatalysis
  • Photocatalytic activity
  • Photocatalytic efficiency
  • Rate per weight

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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