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Preparation and photocatalytic activity of g-C3N4/TiO2 heterojunctions under solar light illumination

Gundogmus, Pelin
Öztürk, Abdullah
The solar light sensitive g-C3N4/TiO2 heterojunction photocatalysts containing 20, 50, 80, and 90 wt% graphitic carbon nitride (g-C3N4) were prepared by growing Titania (TiO2) nanoparticles on the surfaces of g-C3N4 particles via one step hydrothermal process. The hydrothermal reactions were allowed to take place at 110 degrees C at autogenous pressure for 1 h. Raman spectroscopy analyses confirmed that an interface developed between the surfaces of TiO2 and g-C3N4 nanoparticles. The photocatalyst containing 80 wt% g-C3N4 was subsequently heat treated 1 h at temperatures between 350 and 500 degrees C to improve the photocatalytic efficiency. Structural and optical properties of the prepared g-C3N4/TiO2 heterojunction nanocomposites were compared with those of the pristine TiO2 and pristine g-C(3)N(4 )powders. Photocatalytic activity of all the nanocomposites and the pristine TiO2 andg-C3N4 powders were assessed by the Methylene Blue (MB) degradation test under solar light illumination. g-C3N4/TiO2 heterojunction photocatalysts exhibited better photocatalytic activity for the degradation of MB than both pristine TiO2 and g-C3N4. The photocatalytic efficiency of the g-C3N4/TiO2 heterojunction photocatalyst heat treated at 400 degrees C for 1 his 1.45 times better than that of the pristine TiO2 powder, 2.20 times better than that of the pristine g-C3N4 powder, and 1.24 times better than that of the commercially available TiO2 powder (Degussa P25). The improvement in photocatalytic efficiency was related to i) the generation of reactive oxidation species induced by photogenerated electrons, ii) the reduced recombination rate for electron-hole pairs, and iii) large specific surface area.