Electrons photoexcited in K3Ta3B2O 12, an efficient photocatalyst for the water-splitting reaction driven by ultraviolet light, were observed using time-resolved IR absorption spectroscopy with microsecond resolution. When the catalyst was irradiated with 266 nm light pulses, a structureless absorption appeared at 3000-1500 cm -1. The absorption was assigned to the optical transition of electrons that were band gap-excited and then trapped in mid-gap states. The absorbance decayed with a time delay because of the electron-hole recombination. The rate of recombination in an argon atmosphere was sensitive to the composition of the starting material used in the catalyst preparation. The electron decay was accelerated by exposing the catalyst to water vapor. The degree of acceleration was qualitatively correlated with the H2 production rate observed during steady-state light irradiation.
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