Omnidirectional hydrogen generation based on a flexible black gold nanotube array

Zijun Yong, Lim Wei Yap, Qianqian Shi, Anthony S.R. Chesman, Emily Chen, Runfang Fu, Wenlong Cheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Solar-driven hydrogen generation is emerging as an economical and sustainable means of producing renewable energy. However, current photocatalysts for hydrogen generation are mostly powder-based or rigid-substrate-supported, which suffer from limitations, such as difficulties in catalyst regeneration or poor omnidirectional light-harvesting. Here, we report a two-dimensional (2D) flexible photocatalyst based on elastomer-supported black gold nanotube (GNT) arrays with conformal CdS coating and Pt decoration. The highly porous GNT arrays display a strong light-trapping effect, leading to near-complete absorption over almost the entire range of the solar spectrum. In addition, they offer high surface-to-volume ratios promoting efficient photocatalytic reactions. These structural features result in high H2 generation efficiencies. Importantly, our elastomer-supported photocatalyst displays comparable photocatalytic activity even when being mechanically deformed, including bending, stretching, and twisting. We further designed a three-dimensional (3D) tree-like flexible photocatalytic system to mimic Nature's photosynthesis, which demonstrated omnidirectional H2 generation. We believe our strategy represents a promising route in designing next-generation solar-to-fuel systems that rival natural plants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14963-14972
Number of pages10
JournalACS Nano
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 27 Sep 2022


  • artificial tree
  • flexible photocatalyst
  • gold nanotube array
  • hydrogen generation
  • omnidirectional light-harvesting

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