In situ protonated-phosphorus interstitial doping induces long-lived shallow charge trapping in porous C3−xN4 photocatalysts for highly efficient H2 generation†
Efficient photocatalytic solar-to-H2 conversion is pivotal to zero-carbon energy supply. Graphitic carbon nitride (g-C3N4) is a promising visible-light photocatalyst but suffers from intrinsic electron–hole recombination and deep-charge trapping, limiting its efficiency. Here, we show a synergistic strategy of porosity, vacancy and shallow(trapping)-state engineering to enrich catalytic sites and promote the lifetime of active electrons by thermochemical treatment and phosphorus-interstitial-doping. The latter enhances the electron delocalization in the π-conjugate polymeric structure. The optimized photocatalyst shows a ∼800% increase in H2 generation (6323 μmol h−1 g−1) and an about 5-fold increase in quantum efficiency (QE420 nm = 5.08%). The superior performance is attributed to the long-lived shallow charge trapping, as a result of proton-feeding to the coordinated phosphorus site during the photocatalytic reaction, which enhances the photogenerated carrier lifetime and positively optimizes the band structure of the catalyst. Femtosecond transient absorption spectroscopy reveals a doubling lifetime of shallow-trapped charges (∼405.5 ps), favoring high mobility for electron-involved photocatalytic H2 generation. This work provides a new mechanism for improving charge carrier dynamics and photocatalytic performance.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Recent Open Access Articles