Nat Commun. 2022 May 19;13(1):2806. doi: 10.1038/s41467-022-30532-z.
Nonoxidative coupling of methane (NOCM) is a highly important process to simultaneously produce multicarbons and hydrogen. Although oxide-based photocatalysis opens opportunities for NOCM at mild condition, it suffers from unsatisfying selectivity and durability, due to overoxidation of CH4 with lattice oxygen. Here, we propose a heteroatom engineering strategy for highly active, selective and durable photocatalytic NOCM. Demonstrated by commonly used TiO2 photocatalyst, construction of Pd-O4 in surface reduces contribution of O sites to valence band, overcoming the limitations. In contrast to state of the art, 94.3% selectivity is achieved for C2H6 production at 0.91 mmol g-1 h-1 along with stoichiometric H2 production, approaching the level of thermocatalysis at relatively mild condition. As a benchmark, apparent quantum efficiency reaches 3.05% at 350 nm. Further elemental doping can elevate durability over 24 h by stabilizing lattice oxygen. This work provides new insights for high-performance photocatalytic NOCM by atomic engineering.