Beijing Key Laboratory of Energy Conversion and Storage Materials College of Chemistry, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, P. R. China; State Key Laboratory of Chemical Resource Engineering, Beijing University of Chemical Technology, Beijing 100029, P. R. China. Electronic address: [Email]
Direct and efficient photocatalytic overall water splitting is crucial for the sustainable conversion and storage of renewable solar energy. Herein, we present the design of a carbon-rich graphitic carbon nitride (Cco-C3N4), prepared from a layered molecular cocrystal precursor. The cocrystal microsheets were synthesized using a facile hydrothermal process. Following two-step thermal treatment and liquid exfoliation, the product maintains the 2D morphology owing to the toptactic transformation process. The Cco-C3N4 exhibits an enhanced photogenerated electron-hole separation, high charge transport capacity, and prolonged lifetime of the carriers, relative to the g-C3N4 system. In the absence of any sacrificial reagent or co-catalyst, the Cco-C3N4 microsheets exhibit a high photocatalytic activity. The work presented in this report supplies a cocrystal route for the orderly molecular self-assembly of precursor materials to tailor the chemical compositions and electronic structures. Moreover, the generation of a highly efficient water-splitting photocatalyst has larger implications for sustainable energy applications.