Ni12P5 nanoparticles embedded into porous g-C3N4 nanosheets as a noble-metal-free hetero-structure photocatalyst for efficient H2 production under visible light
Transition metal phosphides (TMPs) have recently been thrust into the limelight as promising substitutes for precious noble metal-based cocatalysts for photocatalytic H2 evolution. Herein, colloidally synthesized Ni12P5 nanoparticles were successfully embedded into porous g-C3N4 nanosheets through a facile solution-phase approach under sonication. The as-prepared photocatalysts with an optimum 5 wt% anchoring of Ni12P5 (5NP-CN) displayed an excellent H2 production activity of 535.7 μmol g−1 h−1 under visible light irradiation. The high apparent quantum yield (AQY) of 4.67% at 420 nm was achieved in the 5NP-CN system for the production of H2, exceeding a large scientific spectrum of literature studies on the TMP-based catalysts. The superior photocatalytic H2 evolution of Ni12P5/g-C3N4 was predominantly attributed to the formation of intimate contact interfaces, in which Ni12P5 nanoparticles with high purity and good crystallinity were homogeneously embedded into the porous g-C3N4 nanosheets, thus facilitating the separation and transfer of photogenerated charge carriers. Meanwhile, a possible photocatalytic mechanism of Ni12P5/g-C3N4 hybrid nanocomposites was proposed and corroborated by photoluminescence (PL) spectroscopy and photoelectrochemical (PEC) results. As such, the present reported synthetic route to the g-C3N4-based photocatalysts incorporating Ni12P5 paves a new way for the advancement of g-C3N4 and a cornucopia of colloidal nanocrystals, which will be auspicious toward the nanoarchitecture engineering of noble-metal-free heterojunction interfaces for application in renewable energy production.
- This article is part of the themed collections: JMC A Editor’s choice collection: Recent advances in solar fuels and photocatalysis research and Green Materials and Surfaces