Journal of Materials Science

, Volume 53, Issue 17, pp 12103–12114 | Cite as

Graphene quantum dots-assisted exfoliation of graphitic carbon nitride to prepare metal-free zero-dimensional/two-dimensional composite photocatalysts

  • Jiajia Qian
  • Jing Yan
  • Chao Shen
  • Fengna Xi
  • Xiaoping Dong
  • Jiyang Liu
Chemical routes to materials


The high aspect-ratio morphology of two-dimensional (2D) nanostructures endues them with distinct advantages for photocatalytic or photoelectrical applications. Although various attempts have been devoted to the liquid exfoliation of graphitic carbon nitride (g-C3N4) to obtain ultrathin nanosheets (CNNSs), the high exfoliation efficiency, well preservation of in-planar structure and facile operation cannot be simultaneously realized. Furthermore, functionalization of CNNSs is highly desired to promote the capability of photoabsorption, charge separation and transfer. Herein, we one-step prepared well-dispersed graphene quantum dots (GQDs)-modified CNNSs (GQDs/CNNSs) colloids via a facile and efficient GQDs-assisted exfoliation approach in a normal ultrasonic water bath. The exfoliation procedure was optimized by tuning the dopant in GQDs, ultrasonic time and GQDs dosage. The obtained colloidal GQDs/CNNSs show a typical 2D morphology with lateral size of several 100 nm and ultrathin thickness of 1.5–1.8 nm. What is more, we can tailor the semiconductive behavior of GQDs by heteroatom doping and achieve a pn-type P-doped GQDs-modified CNNSs colloids. This pn GQDs/CNNSs material presents the enhanced separation efficiency of photoexcited carriers and photocatalytic activity in comparison with bulky g-C3N4 (CN) and other CNNSs materials from acid or alkali exfoliation.



This work was financially supported from the financial support from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 21305127), Zhejiang Provincial Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. LY17B010004, LY17B050007) and the 521 talent project of ZSTU.

Supplementary material

10853_2018_2509_MOESM1_ESM.docx (2.7 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 2771 kb)


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ChemistryZhejiang Sci-Tech UniversityHangzhouChina

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