Off-campus Michigan Tech users: To download campus access theses or dissertations, please use the following button to log in with your Michigan Tech ID and password: log in to proxy server

Non-Michigan Tech users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this thesis or dissertation through interlibrary loan.

Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Materials Science and Engineering (PhD)

Administrative Home Department

Department of Materials Science and Engineering

Advisor 1

Yun Hang Hu

Committee Member 1

Xiaohu Xia

Committee Member 2

Megan C. Frost

Committee Member 3

Jaroslaw W. Drelich


Photocatalysis is the acceleration of photoreaction in presence of a photocatalyst. Semiconductor photocatalysis has obtained much attention as a potential solution to the worldwide energy storage due to its promising ability to directly convert solar energy into chemical fuels. This dissertation research mainly employ three approaches to enhance photocatalytic activities, which includes (I) Modifying semiconductor nanomaterials for visible and near-IR light absorption; (II) Synthesis of light-diffuse-reflection-surface of SiO2 substrate to utilize scattered light; and (III) design of a hybrid system that combines light and heat to enhance visible light photocatalytic activity. Those approaches were applied to two systems: (1) hydrogen production from water; (2) carbon dioxide reforming of methane. The activity of noble metals such as platinum were investigated as co-catalysts and cheap earth abundant catalysts as alternatives to reduce cost were also developed. Stability, selectivity, mechanism were investigated. Great enhancement of visible light activity over a series of semiconductors/heterostructures were observed. Such extraordinary performance of artificial photosynthetic hydrogen production system would provide a novel approach for the utilization of solar energy for chemical fuel production.