Extending the π-conjugation of g-C3N4 by incorporating aromatic carbon for photocatalytic H2 evolution from aqueous solution

Po Kai Chuang, Kwun Han Wu, Te Fu Yeh, Hsisheng Teng

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146 Citations (Scopus)


This study details the synthesis of high-activity g-C3N4 catalysts for H2 generation from a triethanolamine aqueous solution under visible light. We anneal a mixture of urea and NH4Cl to obtain g-C3N4 nanosheets, which are subsequently solvated with ethanol molecules and annealed to form aromatic carbon-doped g-C3N4. The results of analyses conducted using X-ray photoelectron, Fourier-transform infrared, and carbon-13 nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopies demonstrated that annealing the ethanol molecules leads to the grafting of aromatic heterocycles on the g-C3N4 nanosheets and substitution of nitrogen with carbon. The grafted aromatic heterocycles and doped carbon atoms extend the π-conjugation system in g-C3N4 to reduce the band gap and facilitate the separation of photogenerated charges. The carbon-incorporating also preserve the crystallinity of g-C3N4 during high-temperature annealing, which facilitates the suppression of the recombination of photogenerated charges at defect sites. The developed aromatic carbon-doped g-C3N4 effectively catalyzes H2 generation from the aqueous solution, achieving apparent quantum yields of 14% and 2.2% under 420 and 550 nm monochromatic irradiation, respectively, whereas urea-derived g-C3N4 reached only 3.4% and 0.1%. The proposed strategy of extending the π-conjugation system is promising for promoting the activity of carbon-nitride photocatalysts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5989-5997
Number of pages9
JournalACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Nov 7

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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