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Catechol as a New Electron Hot Spot of Carbon Nitride

submitted on 19.11.2020, 13:52 and posted on 20.11.2020, 04:42 by Kimoon Lee, Jeonga Kim, Saehan Choi, Nyeongbeen Jo, yoonsung Nam
Graphitic carbon nitride (CNx) is a promising photocatalyst with visible-light sensitivity, attractive band-edge positions, tunable electronic structure, and eco-friendliness. However, their applications are limited by a low catalytic activity due to inefficient charge separation and insufficient visiblelight absorption. Here we show a new method to generate the electron polarization of CNx toward the edge via the chemical conjugation of catechol to CNx for enhanced photochemical activity. The electron-attracting property of catechol/quinone pairs induces the accumulation of photoexcited electrons at the edge of conjugated catechol-CNx hybrid nanostructure (Cat-CNx), , serving as an electron hot spot, as demonstrated by positive open-circuit photovoltage, which increases electron transfer through the conjugated catechol while suppressing charge recombination in the CNx. The catechol conjugation also widens the photoactive spectrum via the larger range delocalization of π-electrons. Accordingly, Cat-CNx reveals a 6.3 higher reductive photocurrent density than CNx. Gold ion reduction dramatically increased due to the enhanced electron transfer activity of Cat-CNx in cooperation with the inherent hydrophilicity and metal chelating property of catechols. Cat-CNx exhibits a 4.3 higher maximum adsorption capacity for gold ions under simulated sun light illumination compared to CNx. This work suggests that the post-modification of CNx’s π-conjugated system is a promising route to handle varied shortcomings and broaden availability of CNx.


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Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology


Republic of Korea

ORCID For Submitting Author


Declaration of Conflict of Interest

The authors declare no competing financial interest.