Carbon-mediated electron transfer channel between SnO2 QDs and g-C3N4 for enhanced photocatalytic H2 production

Jia Yan, Zhilong Song, Hongping Li, Hui Xu, Lawrence Yoon Suk Lee

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Graphitic carbon nitride (g-C3N4) is a promising material for photocatalytic water splitting but suffers from the self-agglomeration and fast recombination of photogenerated electron–hole pairs. Tin oxide (SnO2) has a high electron extraction ability and can play a key role in the charge separation and transfer dynamics of composites. Herein, we report a 0D/2D heterostructure of carbon-encapsulated SnO2 quantum dots (SnO2@C QDs) anchored on g-C3N4 nanosheets (SnO2@C/CN). The construction of interface between SnO2@C and g-C3N4 dramatically increases the surface area and the number of active sites for photocatalytic hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) and provides a driving force for efficient charge separation/transfer kinetics. The carbon layer encapsulating SnO2 QDs acts as a bridge that facilitates electron transfer from g-C3N4 to SnO2 QDs. The champion SnO2@C/CN achieves an exceptional HER rate of 2,544.3 μmol g−1 h−1 (with 3 wt% Pt) with an apparent quantum efficiency of 9.63 % (λ = 420 nm) and excellent photostability. A photoactivity enhancement mechanism is proposed based on the interfacial energy band alignment. This work provides insights into the designing of heterostructured photocatalysts of enhanced charge separation via interface engineering.

Original languageEnglish
Article number131512
JournalChemical Engineering Journal
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • Carbon encapsulation
  • Electron transport layer
  • g-CN nanosheets
  • Photocatalytic hydrogen production
  • SnO quantum dots

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

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