Unravelling a new many-body large-hole polaron in a transition metal oxide that promotes high photocatalytic activity

Xiao Chi, Lily Mandal, Cuibo Liu, Angga Dito Fauzi, Anindita Chaudhuri, Thomas J. Whitcher, Hariom Kirit Jani, Zhongxin Chen, Shibo Xi, Caozheng Diao, Muhammad Avicenna Naradipa, Xiaojiang Yu, Ping Yang, Antonio Helio Castro-Neto, Mark B.H. Breese, Kian Ping Loh, Thirumalai Venky Venkatesan, Andrivo Rusydi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


A many-body large polaron, which is important for both fundamental physics and technological applications, has been predicted to occur in bismuth vanadate (BiVO4). Herein, using a combination of high-resolution spectroscopic ellipsometry, X-ray absorption spectroscopy at the V L3,2- and O K-edges, and high-resolution X-ray diffraction supported by theoretical calculations, we reveal a new many-body large-hole polaron in W-doped BiVO4 films and the interplay of the large-hole polaron and indirect bandgap when determining the photocatalytic activity. With various W doping concentrations and temperatures, anomalous spectral weight transfers in the complex dielectric function are observed, revealing electronic correlations, particularly the on-site Coulomb interactions of O p (Upp) and V d (Udd), and screening in BiVO4. Due to the distortion of BiO8 dodecahedra and Udd, Bi 6 s is lifted to the top of the valance band, which results in the formation of an indirect bandgap and a large-hole polaron. The large-hole polaron is found to form as a localized midgap state, consisting of O p hybridized with the V d and Bi sp orbitals, and this is important when determining the high photocatalytic activity of BiVO4. Our results show the importance of the interplay among the charge, orbital, and lattice degrees of freedom in forming the many-body large-hole polaron, which improves the conductivity and results in a transition metal oxide with high photocatalytic activity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number19
JournalNPG Asia Materials
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


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