Graphitic carbon nitride based nanocomposites: a review.
Graphitic carbon nitride (g-C3N4), as an intriguing earth-abundant visible light photocatalyst, possesses a unique two-dimensional structure, excellent chemical stability and tunable electronic structure. Pure g-C3N4 suffers from rapid recombination of photo-generated electron-hole pairs resulting in low photocatalytic activity. Because of the unique electronic structure, the g-C3N4 could act as an eminent candidate for coupling with various functional materials to enhance the performance. According to the discrepancies in the photocatalytic mechanism and process, six primary systems of g-C3N4-based nanocomposites can be classified and summarized: namely, the g-C3N4 based metal-free heterojunction, the g-C3N4/single metal oxide (metal sulfide) heterojunction, g-C3N4/composite oxide, the g-C3N4/halide heterojunction, g-C3N4/noble metal heterostructures, and the g-C3N4 based complex system. Apart from the depiction of the fabrication methods, heterojunction structure and multifunctional application of the g-C3N4-based nanocomposites, we emphasize and elaborate on the underlying mechanisms in the photocatalytic activity enhancement of g-C3N4-based nanocomposites. The unique functions of the p-n junction (semiconductor/semiconductor heterostructures), the Schottky junction (metal/semiconductor heterostructures), the surface plasmon resonance (SPR) effect, photosensitization, superconductivity, etc. are utilized in the photocatalytic processes. Furthermore, the enhanced performance of g-C3N4-based nanocomposites has been widely employed in environmental and energetic applications such as photocatalytic degradation of pollutants, photocatalytic hydrogen generation, carbon dioxide reduction, disinfection, and supercapacitors. This critical review ends with a summary and some perspectives on the challenges and new directions in exploring g-C3N4-based advanced nanomaterials.