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Direct Z-Scheme charge transfer in heterostructured MoO3/g-C3N4 photocatalysts and the generation of active radicals in photocatalytic dye degradations

Xue, Shengyang, Wu, Chunzheng, Pu, Shengyan, Hou, Yaqi, Tong, Tian, Yang, Guang, Qin, Zhaojun, Wang, Zhiming, Bao, Jiming
Environmental pollution 2019 v.250 pp. 338-345
annealing, carbon nitride, dyes, electrochemistry, electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy, electrons, free radicals, graphene, hydroxyl radicals, microparticles, mixing, nanosheets, pH, photocatalysis, photocatalysts, rhodamines, semiconductors, superoxide anion, wastewater, water pollution
Photocatalytic degradation is an attractive strategy to purify waste water contaminated by macromolecular organics. Compared with the single-component photocatalysts, heterostructures of different semiconductors have been widely used to improve the photocatalytic performance. In this work, we fabricate a hetero-structured photocatalyst consisting of two-dimensional graphitic carbon nitride (g-C3N4) nanosheets and commercial MoO3 microparticles through a simple mixing and annealing process. The photocatalytic performance was evaluated in various dye degradation reactions, especially Rhodamine (RhB) degradation. The MoO3/g-C3N4 composite shown a significant improvement compared with individual MoO3 or g-C3N4 as well as their physical mixture. By applying electron spin resonance (ESR) spin-trap spectra, radical scavenge experiments and electrochemical analysis, we find that a direct Z-scheme charge transfer between MoO3 and g-C3N4 not only causes an accumulation of electrons in g-C3N4 and holes in MoO3, but also boosts the formation of superoxide radical and hydroxyl radical. The superoxide radical and hole dominate the photocatalytic degradation, while the hydroxyl radical plays a negligible role and its production can be suppressed by lowering the pH value.