Selective photoredox using graphene-based composite photocatalysts
Graphene (GR) has proven to be a promising candidate to construct effective GR-based composite photocatalysts with enhanced catalytic activities for solar energy conversion. During the past few years, various GR-based composite photocatalysts have been developed and applied in a myriad of fields. In this perspective review, compared with the traditional applications of GR-based nanocomposites for the “non-selective” degradation of pollutants, photo-deactivation of bacteria and water splitting to H2 and O2, we mainly focus on the recent progress in the applications of GR-based composite photocatalysts for “selective” organic transformations, including reduction of CO2 to renewable fuels, reduction of nitroaromatic compounds to amino compounds, oxidation of alcohols to aldehydes and acids, epoxidation of alkenes, hydroxylation of phenol, and oxidation of tertiary amines. The different roles of GR in these GR-based nanocomposite photocatalysts such as providing a photoelectron reservoir and performing as an organic dye-like macromolecular photosensitizer have been summarized. In addition, graphene oxide (GO) as a co-catalyst in GO–organic species photocatalysts and GO itself as a photocatalyst for selective reduction of CO2 have also been demonstrated. Finally, perspectives on the future research direction of GR-based composite photocatalysts toward selective organic redox transformations are discussed and it is clear that there is a wide scope of opportunities awaiting us in this promising research field.