3 years ago

High-Efficiency Broadband C3N4 Photocatalysts: Synergistic Effects from Upconversion and Plasmons

High-Efficiency Broadband C3N4 Photocatalysts: Synergistic Effects from Upconversion and Plasmons
Zhenhe Xu, Jiujun Deng, Qingzhe Zhang, Dongling Ma, Mohamed Chaker
A plasmon and upconversion enhanced broadband photocatalyst based on Au nanoparticle (NP) and NaYF4:Yb3+, Er3+, Tm3+ (NYF) microsphere loaded graphitic C3N4 (g-C3N4) nanosheets (Au-NYF/g-C3N4) was subtly designed and synthesized. The simple one-step synthesis of NYF in the presence of g-C3N4, which has not been reported in the literature either, leads to both high NYF yield and high coupling efficiency between NYF and g-C3N4. The Au-NYF/g-C3N4 structure exhibits high stability, wide photoresponse from the ultraviolet (UV), to visible and near-infrared regions, and prominently enhanced photocatalytic activities compared with the plain g-C3N4 sample in the degradation of methyl orange (MO). In particular, with the optimization of Au loading, the rate constant normalized with the catalysts mass of the best-performing catalyst 1 wt % Au-NYF/g-C3N4 (0.032 h–1 mg–1) far surpasses that of NYF/g-C3N4 and g-C3N4 (0.009 h–1 mg–1) by 3.6 times under λ > 420 nm light irradiation. The high performance of the Au-NYF/g-C3N4 nanocomposite under different light irradiations was ascribed to the distinctively promoted charge separation and suppressed recombination, and the efficient transfer of charge carriers and energy among these components. The promoted charge separation and transfer were further confirmed by photoelectrochemical measurements. The 1 wt % Au-NYF/g-C3N4 exhibits enhanced photocurrent density (∼6.36 μA cm–2) by a factor of ∼5.5 with respect to that of NYF/g-C3N4 sample (∼1.15 μA cm–2). Different mechanisms of the photodegradation under separate UV, visible, and NIR illuminations are unveiled and discussed in detail. Under simulated solar light illumination, the involved reactive species were identified by performing trapping experiments. This work highlights the great potential of developing highly efficient g-C3N4-based broadband photocatalysts for full solar spectrum utilization by integrating plasmonic nanostructures and upconverting materials.

Publisher URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acscatal.7b02013

DOI: 10.1021/acscatal.7b02013

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