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Combined Soft Templating with Thermal Exfoliation Toward Synthesis of Porous g-C3N4 Nanosheets for Improved Photocatalytic Hydrogen Evolution


Insufficient active sites and fast charge carrier recombination are detrimental to photocatalytic activity of graphitic carbon nitride (g-C3N4). In this work, a combination of pore creating with thermal exfoliation was employed to prepare porous g-C3N4 nanosheets for photocatalytic water splitting into hydrogen. Hexadecyl trimethyl ammonium chloride (CTAC) as the soft template promoted the formation of porous g-C3N4 during the thermal condensation of melamine. On further post-synthesis calcination, the porous g-C3N4 aggregates were exfoliated into discrete nanosheets, accompanied by an increase in specific surface area and defects. Optimal porous g-C3N4 nanosheets achieved 3.6 times the photocatalytic hydrogen evolution rate for bulk counterpart. The enhanced photocatalytic activity may be ascribed to TCN-1%CTAC has larger specific surface area, stronger optical absorption intensity and higher photogenerated electron–hole separation efficiency. The external quantum efficiency of TCN-1%CTAC was measured to be 3.4% at 420 nm. This work provides a simple combinatorial strategy for the preparation of porous g-C3N4 nanosheets with low cost, environmental friendliness and enhanced photocatalytic activity.

Funding source: National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. U1901216).

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