The photocatalytic activity of SrTiO3 modified with Co3O4 nanoparticles for water oxidation under visible light (λ > 480 nm) was investigated with respect to the physicochemical properties of the SrTiO3 support. SrTiO3 was synthesized by a polymerized complex method or a hydrothermal method, followed by calcination in air at different temperatures in order to obtain SrTiO3 particles having different sizes. Co3O4 nanoparticles, which provide both visible light absorption and water oxidation centers, were loaded on the as-prepared SrTiO3 by an impregnation method using Co(NO3)2 as the precursor, followed by heating at 423 K in air. Decreasing the SrTiO3 particle size (that is, improving the crystallinity) enhanced the photocatalytic activity by promoting the formation of Co3O4 nanoparticles that provided optimal light absorption and catalytic sites. However, Co3O4 aggregation occurred on overly large SrTiO3 particles, leading to a decrease in activity. This study demonstrates the possibility of tuning the photocatalytic activity of a Co3O4-loaded wide-gap semiconductor for visible light water oxidation through the appropriate selection of the support material.
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