Cobalt carbide nanosheets as effective catalysts toward photothermal degradation of mustard-gas simulants under solar light

Shu Guang Xia, Zhe Zhang, Ji Na Wu, Yang Wang, Ming Jun Sun, Yan Cui, Chong Lin Zhao, Jin Yi Zhong, Wei Cao, Huaping Wang, Maolin Zhang, Yong Chao Zheng, Xu Bing Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Here, ultrathin cobalt carbide (Co2C) nanosheets are firstly illustrated as effective and robust catalysts toward photothermal degradation of sulfur mustard simulants (e.g., 2-chloroethyl ethyl sulfide, CEES) under solar light. Under the optimal conditions, the degradation rate of CEES by Co2C nanosheets is up to 98 %, which is much higher than the widely used P25 and anatase TiO2 nanoparticles. Moreover, the degradation performance is comparable or even better than those typical photothermal catalysts, including MnO2, MnOx-TiO2 and Co3O4, under identical conditions. Experimental evidences and density functional theory (DFT) calculations reveal that the superior activity is attributed to three main reasons: (i) the high photo-to-heat conversion efficiency of Co2C enables an elevated surface temperature for chemical bond breaking, (ii) the feasible binding of CEES on Co2C surface via Co–S and Co–Cl coordination promotes the process of degradation, and (iii) the surface hydroxyl groups (–OH) on Co2C nanosheets favor the degradation of CEES. Obviously, this work provides new insights into practical and large-scale application of transition metal carbides (TMCs) as novel photothermal catalysts in the decontamination of chemical warfare agents (CWAs) under ambient conditions (i.e., solar light and room temperature).
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119703
JournalApplied Catalysis B: Environmental
StatePublished - Nov 26 2020

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2021-11-21
Acknowledgements: We are grateful for financial support from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (21906182 and 21971251), the National Key Research and Development Program of China (2017YFA0206903), the Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Science (XDB17000000), the Key Research Program of Frontier Sciences of Chinese Academy of Science (QYZDY-SSW-JSC029), the Youth Innovation Promotion Association of Chinese Academy of Sciences (2018031), the Beijing Natural Science Foundation (2194091) and the National Defense Basic Scientific Enhancement Program of China (2019-JCJQ-JJ-161). Dr. H. Wang acknowledges the International Postdoctoral Exchange Fellowship Program (No. 20180011) for financial support.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • Catalysis
  • Process Chemistry and Technology


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