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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Single Atom (Pd/Pt) Supported on Graphitic Carbon Nitride as an Efficient Photocatalyst for Visible-Light Reduction of Carbon Dioxide


Reducing carbon dioxide to hydrocarbon fuel with solar energy is significant for high-density solar energy storage and carbon balance. In this work, single atoms of palladium and platinum supported on graphitic carbon nitride (g-C3N4), i.e., Pd/g-C3N4 and Pt/g-C3N4, respectively, acting as photocatalysts for CO2 reduction were investigated by density functional theory calculations for the first time. During CO2 reduction, the individual metal atoms function as the active sites, while g-C3N4 provides the source of hydrogen (H*) from the hydrogen evolution reaction. The complete, as-designed photocatalysts exhibit excellent activity in CO2 reduction. HCOOH is the preferred product of CO2 reduction on the Pd/g-C3N4 catalyst with a rate-determining barrier of 0.66 eV, while the Pt/g-C3N4 catalyst prefers to reduce CO2 to CH4 with a rate-determining barrier of 1.16 eV. In addition, deposition of atom catalysts on g-C3N4 significantly enhances the visible-light absorption, rendering them ideal for visible-light reduction of CO2. Our findings open a new avenue of CO2 reduction for renewable energy supply.

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