Materials Science

2D Conjugated Polymers: Exploiting Topological Properties for the Rational Design of Metal-Free Photocatalysts


  • Yu Jing Nanjing Forestry University ,
  • Xinyue Zhu Nanjing Forestry University ,
  • Sabine Maier University of Erlangen-Nuremberg ,
  • Thomas Heine TU Dresden & Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf & Yonsei University & Institute for Basic Science


Solar-to-hydrogen conversion is one of the most promising avenues to provide emission-free fuels and long-term chemical energy storage. Wide-range application crucially requires high-performance photocatalysts that are environmentally benign and free of precious metals. With high robustness, controllable composition, tunable electronic structure and high porosity, two-dimensional conjugated polymers (2DCPs) are among the most appealing candidates. We provide rational design principles for 2DCPs which are suitable for water splitting, highlight progress and open challenges in synthesis, and review the recent theory-based investigations on 2DCPs for photocatalysis. The role of theory as indispensable tool is highlighted, as it promotes the understanding of the inner relationship between geometry, electronic structure and photocatalytic performance of 2DCPs and therefore enables rational design of new photocatalysts.


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