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A solid-state chemical reduction approach to synthesize graphitic carbon nitride with tunable nitrogen defects for efficient visible-light photocatalytic hydrogen evolution

Zhang, Yizeng, Gao, Junning, Chen, Zhiwu
Journal of colloid and interface science 2019 v.535 pp. 331-340
Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, absorption, carbon nitride, chemical composition, chemical reduction, electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy, electrons, graphene, hydrogen, hydrogen production, irradiation, nitrogen, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, photocatalysis, photocatalysts, photons, stable isotopes, storage quality, temperature, wavelengths
Graphitic carbon nitride with nitrogen defects (g-C3N4-x) is prepared by a facile and effective solid-state chemical reduction technique at mild temperature conditions. The cyano groups and nitrogen vacancies, as evidenced by electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR), X-ray photoelectron spectrometer (XPS), Fourier transform infrared spectra (FTIR) and Solid-state 13C MAS NMR spectra, are controllable via adjusting chemical reduction temperature. Comparing to the pristine g-C3N4, the as-prepared g-C3N4-x shows much enhanced photocatalytic H2 evolution activity under visible-light irradiation. The maximum H2 evolution rate of 3068 μmol·g−1·h−1 is achieved with g-C3N4-x after chemical reduction treatment at 400 °C for 1 h, which is 4.85 times that of the pristine g-C3N4. Moreover, excellent reusability and storage stability have been shown by this photocatalyst as well. It is discovered that nitrogen defects can result in both the up-shift of the valance band and the down-shift of the conduction band, which benefit the absorption of longer wavelength photons and trapping of the photoinduced electrons, therefore reducing the recombination losses of the generated carriers. It is because of this improved visible-light absorption and charge carrier separation, g-C3N4-x displays better visible-light photocatalytic activity compared to the pristine g-C3N4. It is then concluded that the synthetic strategy presented here represents a straightforward and efficient way to synergistically optimize the chemical composition, optical response, and photocatalytic characteristics of g-C3N4-based photocatalysts.