Solar-to-chemical energy conversion for the generation of high-energy chemicals is one of the most viable solutions to the quest for sustainable energy resources. Although long dominated by inorganic semiconductors, organic polymeric photocatalysts offer the advantage of a broad, molecular-level design space of their optoelectronic and surface catalytic properties, owing to their molecularly precise backbone. In this Review, we discuss the fundamental concepts of polymeric photocatalysis and examine different polymeric photocatalysts, including carbon nitrides, conjugated polymers, covalent triazine frameworks and covalent organic frameworks. We analyse the photophysical and physico-chemical concepts that govern the photocatalytic performance of these materials, and derive design principles and possible future research directions in this emerging field of ‘soft photocatalysis’.
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Financial support by an ERC Starting Grant (project COF Leaf, grant number 639233), the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) project number 358283783–SFB 1333, the Max Planck Society, the Cluster of Excellence e-conversion and the Center for NanoScience (CeNS) is gratefully acknowledged.
The authors declare no competing interests.
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Banerjee, T., Podjaski, F., Kröger, J. et al. Polymer photocatalysts for solar-to-chemical energy conversion. Nat Rev Mater 6, 168–190 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41578-020-00254-z
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