Heterostructured semiconductors: an approach about the main challenges for obtaining and application on environmental and energy photochemical processes

Heterostructured semiconductors are materials with unique features formed by combination of two or more semiconductors with suitable interface between them. The study of the heterostructures aim the development of physico-chemical and photocatalytic properties higher than their isolated phases, which makes it possible to obtain higher efficiency and lower cost in several technological processes. Recently the heterostructured materials have been extensively used in the development of alternative technologies either for environmental pollution control or for renewable energy production, among other applications. However, the obtaining of a heterostructure with suitable features is not trivial. In this way, this review article presents a broad discussion about methods of obtaining heterostructures formed by semiconductors and their applications in the photochemical processes, mainly in the environmental field. It will be addressed the use of the heterostructures in photocatalytic application for the organic pollutants degradation, heavy metals removal, the inactivation of pathogenic microorganisms, beyond of the volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) photooxidation and the photocatalytic abatement of nitrogen oxide (NOx) in gaseous phase. Finally, a discussion about the carbon dioxide (CO2) photoreduction and hydrogen (H2) production focusing mainly in the chemical energy production will be presented.