Efficient Nitrogen Fixation Catalyzed by Gallium Nitride Nanowire Using Nitrogen and Water
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Ammonia is one of the most important bulk chemicals in modern society. However, the highly energy-extensive contemporary industrial production of ammonia was developed in the early 20th century and requires extensive heating of highly pressurized flammable hydrogen gas, whose global production still relies heavily on non-sustainable petroleum. The development of "sustainable" nitrogen fixation process represents a grand aspirational chemical pursuit concerning our future human well-being. Herein, we report an ultra-stable nitride-based photosensitizing semiconductor that enables efficient, sustainable, and mild photochemical nitrogen fixation. The catalyst exhibits strong chemisorption of nitrogen and enables immediate electron donation from its surface vacancy to nitrogen. In addition, it was also demonstrated that the nitride-based semiconductor possesses the potential to minimize electron-hole recombination.