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Low temperature fabrication of Fe₂O₃ nanorod film coated with ultra-thin g-C₃N₄ for a direct z-scheme exerting photocatalytic activities

Kang, Suhee, Jang, Joonyoung, Pawar, Rajendra C., Ahn, Sung-Hoon, Lee, Caroline Sunyong
RSC advances 2018 v.8 no.59 pp. 33600-33613
carbon nitride, evaporation, ferric oxide, hydrogen production, irradiation, lighting, nanorods, p-nitrophenol, photocatalysis, pollutants, redox reactions, temperature
We engineered high aspect ratio Fe₂O₃ nanorods (with an aspect ratio of 17 : 1) coated with g-C₃N₄ using a sequential solvothermal method at very low temperature followed by a thermal evaporation method. Here, the high aspect ratio Fe₂O₃ nanorods were directly grown onto the FTO substrate under relatively low pressure conditions. The g-C₃N₄ was coated onto a uniform Fe₂O₃ nanorod film as the heterostructure, exhibiting rational band conduction and a valence band that engaged in surface photoredox reactions by a direct z-scheme mechanism. The heterostructures, particularly 0.75g-C₃N₄@Fe₂O₃ nanorods, exhibited outstanding photocatalytic activities compared to those of bare Fe₂O₃ nanorods. In terms of 4-nitrophenol degradation, 0.75g-C₃N₄@Fe₂O₃ nanorods degraded all of the organic pollutant within 6 h under visible irradiation at a kinetic constant of 12.71 × 10⁻³ min⁻¹, about 15-fold more rapidly than bare Fe₂O₃. Further, the hydrogen evolution rate was 37.06 μmol h⁻¹ g⁻¹, 39-fold higher than that of bare Fe₂O₃. We suggest that electron and hole pairs are efficiently separated in g-C₃N₄@Fe₂O₃ nanorods, thus accelerating surface photoreaction via a direct z-scheme under visible illumination.