Cadmium sulphide nanoparticles (6-12 nm) are prepared by a precipitation process using different zeolite matrices as templates. The nanoparticles were characterized by UV-Vis, XRD, SEM, TEM and sorptometric techniques. XRD study shows the presence of hexagonal and cubic phases for the nanoparticles whereas in case of the bulk samples only the hexagonal phase is observed. These nanomaterials have been used as catalysts for the photocatalytic decomposition of water. The nanoparticles show a higher hydrogen evolution rate compared to the bulk samples which correlates well with the particle size and surface area. Noble metal (Pt, Pd, Rh, Ru)-loaded samples were subsequently prepared and tested for hydrogen evolution reaction. The presence of Pt metal is found to enhance the hydrogen production rate whereas the hydrogen production rate is retarded in the presence of Ru metal. This has been explained on the basis of metal hydrogen bond, redox potential and work function of the noble metal. © 2005 International Association for Hydrogen Energy.