Acta Phys. -Chim. Sin. ›› 2021, Vol. 37 ›› Issue (8): 2010010.doi: 10.3866/PKU.WHXB202010010

Special Issue: Two-Dimensional Photocatalytic Materials

• REVIEW • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Advances in Regulation Strategies for Electronic Structure and Performance of Two-Dimensional Photocatalytic Materials

Peng Chen1,2, Ying Zhou1, Fan Dong1,2,*()   

  1. 1 School of New Energy and Materials, Southwest Petroleum University, Chengdu 610500, China
    2 Research Center for Environmental and Energy Catalysis, Institute of Fundamental and Frontier Sciences, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, Chengdu 611731, China
  • Received:2020-10-08 Accepted:2020-11-10 Published:2020-11-17
  • Contact: Fan Dong;
  • About author:Fan Dong, Email:;
  • Supported by:
    the National Natural Science Foundation of China(21822601);the National Natural Science Foundation of China(21777011)


Two-dimensional photocatalytic materials have potential applications in the fields of environmental purification and energy conversion owing to their rich surface active sites, unique geometric structures, adjustable electronic structures, and good photocatalytic activities. At present, the main two-dimensional photocatalytic materials include metal oxides, metal composite oxides, metal hydroxides, metal sulfides, bismuth-based materials, and non-metallic photocatalytic materials. The absorption of photons in bulk materials or nanoparticles is often limited by the transmittance and reflection at the grain boundary, while the two-dimensional structure can provide a large specific surface area and abundant surface low-coordination atoms to obtain more UV visible light. In addition, the smaller atomic thickness of two-dimensional photocatalytic materials can shorten the carrier migration distance. Thus, in two-dimensional photocatalytic materials, the carriers generated in the interior migrate to the surface faster than that in the bulk materials, which can reduce the recombination of photogenerated carriers and facilitate the photocatalytic reaction. For the surface redox reaction, the two-dimensional structure can provide more abundant surface-active sites to accelerate the reaction process. Additionally, when the thickness is reduced to the atomic scale, the escape energy of atoms is relatively small, thereby increasing the surface defects, which is helpful for the adsorption and activation of target molecules. Thus, the synthesis methods and performance enhancement strategies of two-dimensional photocatalytic materials have been developed rapidly. The former strategies mainly focus on the adjustment of morphology and geometric structure characteristics, which cannot fully meet the design requirements of efficient and stable photocatalysts. The photocatalytic performance and stability can be improved by surface design to construct abundant active sites and adjust the electronic structure. Research on the reaction mechanism of photocatalysis can help us understand the demand for photocatalytic structure characteristics in different reactions, thereby guiding the design of photocatalysts. In this paper, the advances in surface design and electronic structure regulation strategies of two-dimensional photocatalytic materials are reviewed from three aspects: light absorption; charge separation; and active sites, including element doping, heterojunction design, defect construction, single atom modification, and plasmonic metal loading. The effects on the reaction mechanism for typical air pollutant purification by regulating the electronic structure of two-dimensional photocatalytic materials are summarized. Finally, the problems and challenges associated with the development of two-dimensional photocatalytic materials are analyzed and discussed.

Key words: Two dimensional photocatalytic materials, Surface design, Electronic structure, Reaction mechanism, Active sites