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Light-tuned selective photosynthesis of azo- and azoxy-aromatics using graphitic C3N4

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  • Yitao Dai, Aarhus University, Synfuels China Technology Co.Ltd.
  • ,
  • Chao Li, Synfuels China Technology Co.Ltd.
  • ,
  • Yanbin Shen, Synfuels China Technology Co.Ltd., Suzhou Institute of Nano-Tech and Nano-Bionics (SINANO)
  • ,
  • Tingbin Lim, Synfuels China Technology Co.Ltd.
  • ,
  • Jian Xu, Synfuels China Technology Co.Ltd.
  • ,
  • Yongwang Li, Synfuels China Technology Co.Ltd.
  • ,
  • Hans Niemantsverdriet, Synfuels China Technology Co.Ltd., SynCat DIFFER
  • ,
  • Flemming Besenbacher
  • Nina Lock
  • Ren Su, Synfuels China Technology Co.Ltd.

Solar-driven photocatalysis has attracted significant attention in water splitting, CO2 reduction and organic synthesis. The syntheses of valuable azo- and azoxyaromatic dyes via selective photoreduction of nitroaromatic compounds have been realised using supported plasmonic metal nanoparticles at elevated temperatures (≥90 °C); however, the high cost, low efficiency and poor selectivity of such catalyst systems at room temperature limit their application. Here we demonstrate that the inexpensive graphitic C3N4 is an efficient photocatalyst for selective syntheses of a series of azo- and azoxy-aromatic compounds from their corresponding nitroaromatics under either purple (410 nm) or blue light (450 nm) excitation. The high efficiency and high selectivity towards azo- and azoxy-aromatic compounds can be attributed to the weakly bound photogenerated surface adsorbed H-atoms and a favourable N-N coupling reaction. The results reveal financial and environmental potential of photocatalysis for mass production of valuable chemicals.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNature Communications
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jan 2018

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