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One-Dimensional Multichannel g‑C3N4.7 Nanostructure Realizing an Efficient Photocatalytic Hydrogen Evolution Reaction and Its Theoretical Investigations

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journal contribution
posted on 18.03.2021, 22:29 by Bindu Antil, Lakshya Kumar, Ravi Ranjan, Sulakshana Shenoy, Kartick Tarafder, Chinnakonda S. Gopinath, Sasanka Deka
The emerging metal-free carbon nitride (C3N4) offers prominent possibilities for realizing the highly effective hydrogen evolution reaction (HER). However, its poor surface conductivity and insufficient catalytic sites hinder the HER performance. Herein, a one-dimensional vermicular rope-like graphitic carbon nitride nanostructure is demonstrated that consists of multichannel tubular pores and high nitrogen content, which is fabricated through a cost-effective approach having the final stoichiometry g-C3N4.7 for HER application. The present g-C3N4.7 is unique owing to the presence of abundant channels for the diffusion process, modulated surface chemistry with rich-electroactive sites from N-electron lone pairs, greatly reduced recombination rate of photoexcited exciton pairs, and a high donor concentration (4.26 × 1017 cm3). The catalyst offers a visible-light-driven photocatalytic H2 evolution rate as high as 4910 μ mol h–1 g–1 with an apparent quantum yield of 14.07% at band gap absorption (2.59 eV, 479 nm) under 7.68 mW cm–2 illumination. The number of hydrogen gas molecules produced is 1.307 × 1015 s–1 cm–2, which remained constant for a minimum of 18 h of repeated cycling in the HER without any degradation of the catalyst. In density functional theory calculations, a significant change in the band offset is observed due to N doping into the system in favor of electron catalysis. The theoretical band gap of a monolayer of g-C3N4.7 was enormously reduced because of the presence of additional densities of states from the doped N atom inside the band gap. These impurity or donor bands are formed inside the band gap region, which ultimately enhance the hydrogen ion reduction reaction enormously.

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