Plasmonic Au nanoparticles anchored 2D WS2@RGO for high-performance photoelectrochemical nitrogen reduction to ammonia

G. Bharath*, Chao Liu, Fawzi Banat, Anuj Kumar, Abdul Hai, Ashok Kumar Nadda, Vijai Kumar Gupta, Mohammad Abu Haija, Jayaraman Balamurugan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


The photoelectrochemical reduction of nitrogen to ammonia (NH3) is a sustainable and cost-effective process. The photoelectrocatalysts adsorb light, activate N2, and transport electrons efficiently to achieve high-yield NH3. In the present work, gold-tungsten sulfide-anchored reduced graphene oxides (Au-WS2@RGO) are developed as highly efficient photoelectrocatalysts for the N2 reduction reaction (NRR) to synthesize NH3. The effect of Au nanoparticles loaded on WS2@RGO is optimized to achieve hierarchical 2D Au-WS2@RGO with excellent electrical conductivity, large active surface area, and unique porous network. Photoelectrocatalytic NRR of Au-WS2@RGO achieves remarkable NH3 production rates with ultrahigh NH3 yield of 34 μgh-1mgcat-1 at −0.6 V, tremendous faradaic efficiency (FE) of 16.2 %, long durability for about 14 h, and prolonged lifetime of photo-carriers. DFT calculations support the experimental findings and demonstrate that Au-WS2@RGO as an effeient NRR catalyst with low overpotential. The Au-WS2@RGO shows the highest NRR performances even in atmospheric air (AirRR) and outperforms the state-of-the-art NRR catalysts. The high AirRR performance and durability of Au-WS2@RGO make it a promising alternative to Au-based NRR catalysts in photo electrolyzers. Further, an innovative methodology will be proposed for high-efficiency urea fertilizer production using Au-WS2@RGO-based NRR photocatalysts.

Original languageEnglish
Article number143040
JournalChemical Engineering Journal
Early online date17 Apr 2023
Publication statusPrint publication - 1 Jun 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The Khalifa University of Science and Technology in Abu Dhabi funded this research with an internal grant CIRA-2020-085. This research was also supported by Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education (2022R1I1A1A01068908).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023


  • Ammonia synthesis
  • Au-WS@RGO
  • DFT calculations
  • Nitrogen reduction reactions
  • Photoelectrocatalysis


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