Interlayer interaction in ultrathin nanosheets of graphitic carbon nitride for efficient photocatalytic hydrogen evolution

Daming Zhao, Jie Chen, Chung Li Dong, Wu Zhou, Yu Cheng Huang, Samuel S. Mao, Liejin Guo, Shaohua Shen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

91 Scopus citations

Abstract

Two-dimensional graphitic carbon nitride (g-C3N4) nanosheets (CNNS) have attracted intense interest in photocatalysis, given their small thickness and high specific surface area favoring charge transfer and surface reactions. Herein, a facile strategy of breaking and following repolymerizing the heptazine units in bulk g-C3N4 (BCN) is developed to synthesize ultrathin CNNS with thickness of 1 nm in relatively high product yield (∼24%). The as-prepared 1 nm-thick CNNS show significantly enhanced photocatalytic performance for hydrogen evolution than BCN and even the 3 nm-thick CNNS acquired by thermal oxidation etching of BCN. It is evidenced that the disordered layer structure of the obtained ultrathin CNNS causes strong interlayer C–N interaction, tunneling electron transport between the C–N layers. Meanwhile, the broken in-plane C–N bonds create more unsaturated N sites in the 1 nm-thick CNNS, facilitating the electron excitation from the occupied states in g-C3N4 to its unoccupied states for water reduction reaction.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)491-497
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Catalysis
Volume352
DOIs
StatePublished - 2017

Keywords

  • Electron transport
  • Graphitic carbon nitride
  • Solar hydrogen conversion
  • Ultrathin nanosheets

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