Fabrication of a novel ZnIn2S4/g-C3N4/graphene ternary nanocomposite with enhanced charge separation for efficient photocatalytic H2 evolution under solar light illumination†
Design and synthesis of efficient photocatalyst systems for a large volume of hydrogen (H2) evolution under solar light is still a great challenge. To obtain high photocatalytic activity, graphene-based semiconductor photocatalysts are gaining heightened attention in the field of green and sustainable fuel production due to their good electronic properties, high surface area and chemical stability. Herein, we demonstrate an efficient, novel and smart architecture of a graphene-based ZnIn2S4/g-C3N4 nanojunction by a simple hydrothermal process for H2 generation. In the present study, graphene (G) is chosen as the electron mediator and ZnIn2S4 (ZIS) and g-C3N4 (CN) are chosen as two different semiconductor photocatalysts to construct a smart architecture for the ternary photocatalytic system. Different characterization techniques such as XRD, TGA, FT-IR, SEM, TEM, HR-TEM, XPS, BET, and UV-vis DRS were employed to ensure the successful integration of graphene, ZnIn2S4, and g-C3N4 in the nanocomposite. As a result, high and efficient H2 evolution (477 μmol h−1 g−1) is attained for the graphene-based ZnIn2S4/g-C3N4 nanocomposite. Transient photocurrent experiments, ESR, PL, and time-resolved PL studies suggested that the intimate ternary nanojunction effectively promotes fast charge transfer and thereby enhances photocatalytic H2 evolution.