Nanoscale research letters

Substitutional Doping for Aluminosilicate Mineral and Superior Water Splitting Performance.

PMID 28715878


Substitutional doping is a strategy in which atomic impurities are optionally added to a host material to promote its properties, while the geometric and electronic structure evolution of natural nanoclay mineral upon substitutional metal doping is still ambiguous. This paper first designed an efficient lanthanum (La) doping strategy for nanotubular clay (halloysite nanotube, HNT) through the dynamic equilibrium of a substitutional atom in the presence of saturated AlCl3 solution, and systematic characterization of the samples was performed. Further density functional theory (DFT) calculations were carried out to reveal the geometric and electronic structure evolution upon metal doping, as well as to verify the atom-level effect of the La doping. The CdS loading and its corresponding water splitting performance could demonstrate the effect of La doping. CdS nanoparticles (11 wt.%) were uniformly deposited on the surface of La-doped halloysite nanotube (La-HNT) with the average size of 5 nm, and the notable photocatalytic hydrogen evolution rate of CdS/La-HNT reached up to 47.5 μmol/h. The results could provide a new strategy for metal ion doping and constructive insight into the substitutional doping mechanism.