Silk fibroin-derived nitrogen-doped carbon quantum dots anchored on TiO2 nanotube arrays for heterogeneous photocatalytic degradation and water splitting

Qun Wang, Jingsheng Cai, Gill V. Biesold-McGee, Jianying Huang, Yun Hau Ng, Hongtao Sun, Jiping Wang, Yuekun Lai, Zhiqun Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

103 Scopus citations

Abstract

Bombyx mori silk, a natural nitrogen-rich biopolymer protein, is earth-abundant and sustainable. In this study, nitrogen-doped carbon quantum dots (N-CQDs) derived from Bombyx mori silk fibroin are immobilized onto TiO2 nanotube arrays (TiO2 NTAs) by a facile hydrothermal process. The resulting N-CQDs decorated TiO2 NTA heterostructures (N-CQDs@TiO2 NTAs) display a maximum incident photon-to-electron conversion efficiency (IPCE) of 32.5% under 450 nm monochromatic light in neutral solution. Compared with pristine TiO2 NTAs, the N-CQDs-decorated TiO2 NTAs demonstrate significantly improved photocatalytic efficiency during the degradation of organic contaminants. Furthermore, the constructed heterostructures are used to split water to investigate their photocatalytic promise, yielding the maximum H2 and O2 production rates of 30.12 and 14.96 μmol cm−2 h−1, respectively. Optimizing the N-CQD coating is found to effectively tune the bandgap and up-conversion capability of the heterostructures, enabling unique photon harvest and boosting photocatalytic activity. This study provides a proof of concept that nonmetal, abundant, and sustainable materials can be exploited to enhance the photocatalytic capability of TiO2, imparting a variety of unique applications such as water purification and chemical fuel production.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105313
JournalNano Energy
Volume78
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank the National Natural Science Foundation of China ( 51972063 and 51502185 ), 111 Project (No. D17005 ) and Fuzhou University Testing Fund of precious apparatus ( 2019T022 ). We also acknowledge the funds from the Priority Academic Program Development of Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions (PAPD) .

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier Ltd

Keywords

  • Hydrogen generation
  • Nitrogen-doped carbon quantum dots
  • Photocatalytic activity
  • Pollutants degradation
  • TiO nanotube arrays

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