Defects Promote Ultrafast Charge Separation in Graphitic Carbon Nitride for Enhanced Visible-Light-Driven CO 2 Reduction Activity

Hainan Shi, Saran Long, Jungang Hou, Lu Ye, Yanwei Sun, Wenjun Ni, Chunshan Song, Keyan Li, Gagik G. Gurzadyan, Xinwen Guo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Fundamental photocatalytic limitations of solar CO 2 reduction remain due to low efficiency, serious charge recombination, and short lifetime of catalysts. Herein, two-dimensional graphitic carbon nitride nanosheets with nitrogen vacancies (g-C 3 N x ) located at both three-coordinate N atoms and uncondensed terminal NH x species were prepared by one-step tartaric acid-assistant thermal polymerization of dicyandiamide. Transient absorption spectra revealed that the defects in g-C 3 N 4 act as trapped states of charges to result in prolonged lifetimes of photoexcited charge carriers. Time-resolved photoluminescence spectroscopy revealed that the faster decay of charges is due to the decreased interlayer stacking distance in g-C 3 N x in favor of hopping transition and mobility of charge carriers to the surface of the material. Owing to the synergic virtues of strong visible-light absorption, large surface area, and efficient charge separation, the g-C 3 N x nanosheets with negligible loss after 15 h of photocatalysis exhibited a CO evolution rate of 56.9 μmol g −1 h −1 under visible-light irradiation, which is roughly eight times higher than that of pristine g-C 3 N 4 . This work presents the role of defects in modulating light absorption and charge separation, which opens an avenue to robust solar-energy conversion performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5028-5035
Number of pages8
JournalChemistry - A European Journal
Issue number19
StatePublished - Apr 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Catalysis
  • Organic Chemistry


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