Carbon Nitride Kitchen
All chemists are good chefs. We have been using the word “cook”, when refer to the “synthesis of a chemical substance”, long before Jesse Pinkman from the famous TV-series. In this article I give highlights of the "kitchen" behind our recent review on carbon nitride chemistry.
Having been working in carbon nitride photocatalysis for few years, I can name top three arguments used in the introduction to practically every manuscript on this topic to justify the choice of carbon nitrides in research. They are 1) easiness of preparation, 2) tunability of the structure and 3) low cost.
Synthesis of carbon nitrides is as easy as baking a sponge cake. Nobody has ever failed in making a sponge cake! Nobody has ever failed in synthesis of carbon nitride. Simply mix all ingredients in a crucible and heat at 550oC. Synthesis of carbon nitrides is rather a culinary art than chemistry in a classical sense.
It is super easy to make a basic sponge cake – eggs, flour and sugar. But even the basic cake can be transformed into astonishing variety of delicious masterpieces. Simply smear two layers of sponge with jam or cream, combine them together, add toping and here you go! Raspberry and almond sponge, cherry and vanilla sponge, strawberry and mascarpone sponge and so on. Vary precursors, do carbon nitride post treatment, to tune band structure and hence adjust its properties to find new applications.
The last point, “cheap”, needs more explanation. I will leave out sponge cake prime cost calculation for obvious reason. Instead I need to point out that chemical articles normally do not discuss the economic aspects of the research work. Speaking of carbon nitrides, the cost of materials required to make one gram of this material has been claimed to be as low as 10 cent.
In the review “Ionic Carbon nitrides: Exciting Chemistry and Economic advantages”, apart from summarizing advances in photocatalytic synthesis of organic molecules, we took liberty to estimate price of different carbon nitride photocatalysts.
The review was prepared as a response to the invitation from Prof. Xinchen Wang from Fuzhou University and now is a part of the special issue in ChemCatChem “Photocatalysis: From Solar Power to Sustainable Chemical Production”.
If you are interested to know more about exciting chemistry of carbon nitrides, check our recent review.
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Aleksandr Savateev exclusively for Chemistry Community.