Monolayer Graphitic Carbon Nitride as Metal-Free Catalyst with Enhanced Performance in Photo- and Electro-Catalysis

Huiyan Piao, Goeun Choi, Xiaoyan Jin, Seong Ju Hwang, Young Jae Song, Sung Pyo Cho, Jin Ho Choy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


Highlights: The g-C3N4 monolayer in the perfect 2D limit was successfully realized, for the first time, by the well-defined chemical strategy based on the bottom-up process.The most striking evidence was made from Cs–high resolution transmission electron microscopy measurements by observing directly the atomic structure of g-C3N4 unit cell, which was again supported by the corresponding high resolution transmission electron microscopy image simulation results.We demonstrated that the newly prepared g-C3N4 monolayer showed outstanding photocatalytic activity for H2O2 generation as well as excellent electrocatalytic activity for oxygen reduction reaction. Abstract: The exfoliation of bulk graphitic carbon nitride (g-C3N4) into monolayer has been intensively studied to induce maximum surface area for fundamental studies, but ended in failure to realize chemically and physically well-defined monolayer of g-C3N4 mostly due to the difficulty in reducing the layer thickness down to an atomic level. It has, therefore, remained as a challenging issue in two-dimensional (2D) chemistry and physics communities. In this study, an “atomic monolayer of g-C3N4 with perfect two-dimensional limit” was successfully prepared by the chemically well-defined two-step routes. The atomically resolved monolayer of g-C3N4 was also confirmed by spectroscopic and microscopic analyses. In addition, the experimental Cs-HRTEM image was collected, for the first time, which was in excellent agreement with the theoretically simulated; the evidence of monolayer of g-C3N4 in the perfect 2D limit becomes now clear from the HRTEM image of orderly hexagonal symmetry with a cavity formed by encirclement of three adjacent heptazine units. Compared to bulk g-C3N4, the present g-C3N4 monolayer showed significantly higher photocatalytic generation of H2O2 and H2, and electrocatalytic oxygen reduction reaction. In addition, its photocatalytic efficiency for H2O2 production was found to be the best for any known g-C3N4 nanomaterials, underscoring the remarkable advantage of monolayer formation in optimizing the catalyst performance of g-C3N4.[Figure not available: see fulltext.].

Original languageEnglish
Article number55
JournalNano-Micro Letters
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Dec

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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