Research Article


2017, 10(5): 1720–1731


Harnessing Vis-NIR broad spectrum for photocatalytic CO2 reduction over carbon quantum dots-decorated ultrathin Bi2WO6 nanosheets

Xin Ying Kong1, Wen Liang Tan1, Boon-Junn Ng1, Siang-Piao Chai1 (*), and Abdul Rahman Mohamed2

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1 Multidisciplinary Platform of Advanced Engineering, Chemical Engineering Discipline, School of Engineering, Monash University, Jalan Lagoon Selatan, 47500 Bandar Sunway, Selangor, Malaysia
2 Low Carbon Economy (LCE) Group, School of Chemical Engineering, Engineering Campus, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Seri Ampangan, 14300 Nibong Tebal, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

Keywords: photocatalysis, CO2 reduction, near-infrared (NIR) light, carbon quantum dots, bismuth tungstate, ultrathin nanosheets
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ABSTRACT The photocatalytic reduction of CO2 to energy-rich hydrocarbon fuels is a promising and sustainable method of addressing global warming and the imminent energy crisis concomitantly. However, a vast majority of the existing photocatalysts are only capable of harnessing ultraviolet (UV) or/and visible light (Vis), whereas the near-infrared (NIR) region still remains unexplored. In this study, carbon quantum dots (CQDs)-decorated ultrathin Bi2WO6 nanosheets (UBW) were demonstrated to be an efficient photocatalyst for CO2 photoreduction over the Vis–NIR broad spectrum. It is noteworthy that the synthesis procedure of the CQDs/UBW hybrid nanocomposites was highly facile, involving a one-pot hexadecyltrimethylammonium bromide (CTAB)-assisted hydrothermal process. Under visible light irradiation, the optimized 1CQDs/UBW (1 wt.% CQD content) exhibited a remarkable 9.5-fold and 3.1-fold enhancement of CH4 production over pristine Bi2WO6 nanoplatelets (PBW) and bare UBW, respectively. More importantly, the photocatalytic responsiveness of CQDs/UBW was successfully extended to the NIR region, which was achieved without involving any rare earth or noble metals. The realization of NIR-driven CO2 reduction could be attributed to the synergistic effects of (i) the ultrathin nanostructures and highly exposed {001} active facets of UBW, (ii) the excellent spectral coupling of UBW and CQDs, where UBW could be excited by the up-converted photoluminescence of CQDs, and (iii) the electron-withdrawing nature of the CQDs to trap the photogenerated electrons and retard the recombination of charge carriers.
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Harnessing Vis-NIR broad spectrum for photocatalytic CO2 reduction over carbon quantum dots-decorated ultrathin Bi2WO6 nanosheets. Nano Res. 2017, 10(5): 1720–1731

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