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Keywords:

  • carbon nitrides;
  • nanostructures;
  • acidification;
  • photocatalysis;
  • water splitting;
  • templates

Abstract

Nanostructured covalent carbon nitride (CN) holds great promise for artificial photosynthesis, but its nanotexturation using templating methods is restricted by the weak binding affinities of neutral silica templates towards basic precursors that are kinetically difficult to diffuse into the nanopores of the templates. This weak affinity leads to an incomplete inclusion of the CN precursors into the nanostructured silica templates, and consequently, yields a defective replica of the parent porous structures. Here, this issue is addressed through the development of an innovative synthetic strategy to facilitate the sufficient inclusion of CN precursors in silica templates, by taking advantage of the surface acidification of silica and sonication-promoted insertion. The ordered mesoporous CN (ompg-CN) fabricated using SBA-15 mesozeolite as the template has been demonstrated to show a better 2D mesoporous hexagonal framework, larger surface area, and higher photocatalytic activity than that synthesized by the traditional method. This innovative strategy can in general be expanded to other silica templates with various nanostructures, enabling the creation of stable polymeric CN nanostructures with maximized material and structure functions.