Atomically thin two-dimensional ZnSe/ZnSe(ea)x van der Waals nanojunctions for synergistically enhanced visible light photocatalytic H2 evolution†
Two-dimensional (2D) photocatalysts have been widely studied due to their short charge carrier migration pathways and tunable electronic structures. Herein, a facile one-pot solvothermal process with ethylamine (ea) constructs a novel 2D nanojunction based on ZnSe. The ea molecules coordinate with Zn2+ to form 2D ZnSe(ea)x, where the consequent 2D ZnSe grows in an epitaxial way resulting in the self-assembled 2D/2D ZnSe/ZnSe(ea)x nanojunctions driven by van der Waals (VDW) force, which largely extend the absorption range. The atomic thickness of the 2D structure offers a short charge migration pathway, low electric resistance and rich active sites for the surface reaction of photocatalysis. All the above favorable factors work synergistically to reach a superior hydrogen evolution of 2875 μmol g−1 h−1 under visible light irradiation (≥420 nm) and a notable quantum yield of 64.5% at 450 nm, which are among the highest recorded values of non-noble metal photocatalysts.