am7b14191_si_001.pdf (1.83 MB)

Distorted Carbon Nitride Structure with Substituted Benzene Moieties for Enhanced Visible Light Photocatalytic Activities

Download (1.83 MB)
journal contribution
posted on 27.10.2017, 00:00 by Hyejin Kim, Suji Gim, Tae Hwa Jeon, Hyungjun Kim, Wonyong Choi
Carbon nitride (CN) is being intensively investigated as a low-cost visible light active photocatalyst, but its practical applications are limited because of the fast charge pair recombination and low visible light absorption. Here, we introduce a new strategy for enhancing its visible light photocatalytic activity by designing the CN structure in which the nitrogen of tertiary amine is substituted with a benzene molecule connected by three heptazine rings. The intramolecular benzene doping induced the structural changes from planar symmetric structure to distorted geometry, which could be predicted by density functional theory calculation. This structural distortion facilitated the spatial separation of photogenerated charge pairs and retarded charge recombination via exciton dissociation. Such unique properties of the benzene-incorporated CN were confirmed by the photoluminescence (PL) and photoelectrochemical analyses. The optimal loading of benzene doping reduced the PL of the conjugated ring system (π → π* transition) but enhanced the PL of the forbidden n → π* transition at the nitrogen atoms with lone pair electrons due to the distortion from the planar geometry. The photoelectrode of benzene-doped CN exhibited higher photocurrent and lower charge transfer resistance than bare CN electrode, indicating that the photogenerated charge pairs are more efficiently separated. As a result, the benzene-doped CN markedly increased the photocatalytic activity for the degradation of various organic pollutants and that for H2O2 production (via O2 reduction). This study proposes a simple strategy for chemical structural modification of carbon nitride to boost the visible light photocatalytic activity.