Niobium and Titanium Carbides (MXenes) as Superior Photothermal Supports for CO2 Photocatalysis
Zhiyi Wu1, Chaoran Li*, 1, Zhao Li2, Kai Feng1, Mujin Cai1, Dake Zhang1, Shenghua Wang1, Mingyu Chu1, Chengcheng Zhang1, Jiahui Shen1, Zheng Huang1, Yanling Xiao1, Geoffrey A. Ozin*, 2, Xiaohong Zhang*, 1, and Le He*, 1
1Institute of Functional Nano & Soft Materials (FUNSOM), Jiangsu Key Laboratory for Carbon-Based Functional Materials & Devices, Soochow University, 199 Ren’ai Road, Suzhou, Jiangsu 215123, People’s Republic of China
2Materials Chemistry and Nanochemistry Research Group, Solar Fuels Cluster, Departments of Chemistry, University of Toronto, 80 St. George Street, Toronto, Ontario M5S 3H6, Canada
The conversion of CO2 into fuels and feedstock chemicals via photothermal catalysis holds promise for efficient solar energy utilization to tackle global energy shortage and climate change. Despite recent advances, it is of emerging interest to explore promising materials with excellent photothermal properties to boost the performance of photothermal CO2 catalysis. Here we report the discovery of MXene materials as superior photothermal supports for metal nanoparticles. As a proof-of-concept study, we demonstrate that Nb2C and Ti3C2, two typical MXene materials, can enhance the photothermal effect and thus boost the photothermal catalytic activity of Ni nanoparticles. A record CO2 conversion rate of 8.50 mol·gNi-1·h-1 is achieved for Nb2C-nanosheets-supported Ni nanoparticles under intense illumination. Our study bridges the gap between photothermal MXene materials and photothermal CO2 catalysis toward more efficient solar-to-chemical energy conversions, and stimulates the interest in MXene supported metal nanoparticles for other heterogeneous catalytic reactions, particularly driven by sunlight.