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Direct Z-Scheme g-C₃N₄/FeWO₄ Nanocomposite for Enhanced and Selective Photocatalytic CO₂ Reduction under Visible Light

Bhosale, Reshma, Jain, Srashti, Vinod, Chathakudath Prabhakaran, Kumar, Santosh, Ogale, Satishchandra
ACS applied materials & interfaces 2019 v.11 no.6 pp. 6174-6183
ambient temperature, carbon, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, carbon nitride, energy, global warming, hydrogen, nanocomposites, nanoparticles, nanosheets, photocatalysis, solar energy, solar radiation
Photocatalytic reduction of CO₂ to renewable solar fuels is considered to be a promising strategy to simultaneously solve both global warming and energy crises. However, development of a superior photocatalytic system with high product selectivity for CO₂ reduction under solar light is the prime requisite. Herein, a series of nature-inspired Z-scheme g C₃N₄/FeWO₄ composites are prepared for higher performance and selective CO₂ reduction to CO as solar fuel under solar light. The novel direct Z-scheme coupling of the visible light-active FeWO₄ nanoparticles with C₃N₄ nanosheets is seen to exhibit excellent performance for CO production with a rate of 6 μmol/g/h at an ambient temperature, almost 6 times higher compared to pristine C₃N₄ and 15 times higher than pristine FeWO₄. More importantly, selectivity for CO is 100% over other carbon products from CO₂ reduction and more than 90% over H₂ products from water splitting. Our results clearly demonstrate that the staggered band structure between FeWO₄ and C₃N₄ reflecting the nature-inspired Z-scheme system not only favors superior spatial separation of the electron–hole pair in g-C₃N₄/FeWO₄ but also shows good reusability. The present work provides unprecedented insights for constructing the direct Z-scheme by mimicking the nature for high performance and selective photocatalytic CO₂ reduction into solar fuels under solar light.