Graphitic carbon nitride nanotubes: a new material for emerging applications†
We provide a critical review of the current state of the synthesis and applications of nano- and micro-tubes of layered graphitic carbon nitride. This emerging material has a huge potential for light-harvesting applications, including light sensing, artificial photosynthesis, selective photocatalysis, hydrogen storage, light-induced motion, membrane technologies, and can become a major competitor for such established materials as carbon and titania dioxide nanotubes. Graphitic carbon nitride tubes (GCNTs) combine visible-light sensitivity, high charge carrier mobility, and exceptional chemical/photochemical stability, imparting this material with unrivaled photocatalytic activities in photosynthetic processes, such as water splitting and carbon dioxide reduction. The unique geometric GCNT structure and versatility of possible chemical modifications allow new photocatalytic applications of GCNTs to be envisaged including selective photocatalysts of multi-electron processes as well as light-induced and light-directed motion of GCNT-based microswimmers. Closely-packed arrays of aligned GCNTs show great promise as multifunctional membrane materials for the light energy conversion and storage, light-driven pumping of liquids, selective adsorption, and electrochemical applications. These emerging applications require synthetic routes to GCNTs with highly controlled morphological parameters and composition to be available. We recognize three major strategies for the GCNT synthesis including templating, supramolecular assembling of precursors, and scrolling of nano-/microsheets, and outline promising routes for further progress of these approaches in the light of the most important emerging applications of GCNTs.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Reviews in RSC Advances