Porous P-doped graphitic carbon nitride nanosheets for synergistically enhanced visible-light photocatalytic H2 production†
Novel porous P-doped graphitic carbon nitride (g-C3N4) nanosheets were for the first time fabricated by combining P doping and thermal exfoliation strategies. The as-prepared P-doped g-C3N4 nanosheets show a high visible-light photocatalytic H2-production activity of 1596 μmol h−1 g−1 and an apparent quantum efficiency of 3.56% at 420 nm, representing one of the most highly active metal-free g-C3N4 nanosheet photocatalysts. This outstanding photocatalytic performance originates from the P-doped conjugated system and novel macroporous nanosheet morphology. Particularly, the empty midgap states (−0.16 V vs. standard hydrogen electrode) created by P doping are for the first time found to greatly extend the light-responsive region up to 557 nm by density functional theory and experimental studies, whilst the novel macroporous structure promotes the mass-transfer process and enhances light harvesting. Our study not only demonstrates a facile, eco-friendly and scalable strategy to synthesize highly efficient porous g-C3N4 nanosheet photocatalysts, but also paves a new avenue for the rational design and synthesis of advanced photocatalysts by harnessing the strong synergistic effects through simultaneously tuning and optimizing the electronic, crystallographic, surface and textural structures.