Photocatalytic reaction systems gained much attention during the last three decades as potential tools to solve both energy and environment related problems. In recent years, photocatalytic reaction systems have been widely studied for environmental applications such as waste water treatment, air purification, pollutant degradation, hydrogen production, and carbon dioxide reduction. However, as hydrogen is the main energy-dense fuel and acquired from an abundantly available source (i.e., water) solar hydrogen production has emerged as the focus of interest. Amongst different techniques, the photocatalytic systems employing metal oxide- based semiconductors as photocatalysts have been widely studied to generate hydrogen by water splitting. The structural, physical, and optical properties of the photocatalyst as well as the related mechanistic aspects of the underlying processes are the essential aspects for efficient photocatalytical hydrogen production. This review describes in detail the recent advancements made in the modification of the semiconductor photocatalysts. The focus is on the loading of several co-catalysts including noble metals, transition metal oxides as well as transition metal phosphides/sulfides. Moreover, the role of sacrificial reagents on the photocatalytic performance is also discussed.
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