Graphitic carbon nitride (gCN) has a broad range of promising applications, from energy harvesting and storage to sensing. However, most of the applications are still restricted due to gCN poor dispersibility and limited functional groups. Herein, a direct photografting of gCN using various polymer brushes with tailorable functionalities via UV photopolymerization at ambient conditions is demonstrated. The systematic study of polymer brush-functionalized gCN reveals that the polymerization did not alter the inherent structure of gCN. Compared to the pristine gCN, the gCN-polymer composites show good dispersibility in various solvents such as water, ethanol, and tetrahydrofuran (THF). Patterned polymer brushes on gCN can be realized by employing photomask and microcontact printing technology. The polymer brushes with incorporated silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) on gCN can act as a multifunctional recyclable active sensing layer for surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) detection and photocatalysis. This multifunctionality is shown in consecutive cycles of SERS and photocatalytic degradation processes that can be applied to in situ monitor pollutants, such as dyes or pharmaceutical waste, with high chemical sensitivity as well as to water remediation. This dual functionality provides a significant advantage to our AgNPs/polymer-gCN with regard to state-of-the-art systems reported so far that only allow SERS pollutant detection but not their decomposition. These results may provide a new methodology for the covalent functionalization of gCN and may enable new applications in the field of catalysis, biosensors, and, most interestingly, environmental remediation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Materials Science(all)