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Cao, Xing; Huang, Aijian; Liang, Chao; Chen, Hsiao-Chien; Han, Tong; Lin, Rui; Peng, Qing; Zhuang, Zewen; Shen, Rongan; Chen, Hao Ming; Yu, Yi; Chen, Chen and Li, Yadong (2022): Engineering Lattice Disorder on a Photocatalyst: Photochromic BiOBr Nanosheets Enhance Activation of Aromatic C-H Bonds via Water Oxidation. In: Journal of the American Chemical Society, Vol. 144, No. 8: pp. 3386-3397

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Solar-driven photocatalytic reactions can mildly activate hydrocarbon C-H bonds to produce value-added chemicals. However, the inefficient utilization of photogenerated carriers hinders the application. Here, we report reversible photochromic BiOBr (denoted as p-BiOBr) nanosheets that were colored by trapping photogenerated holes upon visible light irradiation and bleached by water oxidation to generate hydroxyl radicals, demonstrating enhanced carrier separation and water oxidation. The photocatalytic coupling and oxidation reactions of ethylbenzene were efficiently realized by p-BiOBr in a water-based medium under ambient temperature and pressure (apparent quantum yield is 14 times that of pristine BiOBr). The p-BiOBr nanosheets feature lattice disordered defects on the surface, providing rich uncoordinated catalytic sites and inducing structural distortions and lattice strain, which further leads to an altered band structure and significantly enhanced photocatalytic performances. These hole-trapping materials open up the possibility of substantially elevating the utilization efficiency of photogenerated holes for high-efficiency photocatalytic activation of various saturated C-H bonds.

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