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Materials 2016, 9(4), 286; doi:10.3390/ma9040286

Photocatalytic Properties of g-C3N4–TiO2 Heterojunctions under UV and Visible Light Conditions

1
Centre for Research in Engineering Surface Technology (CREST), FOCAS Institute, Dublin Institute of Technology, Kevin St, Dublin 8, Ireland
2
School of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Dublin Institute of Technology, Kevin St., Dublin 8, Ireland
3
The Surface Analysis Laboratory, Department of Mechanical Engineering Sciences, University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey GU2 7XH, UK
4
Nanotechnology Research Group, Department of Environmental Sciences, Institute of Technology Sligo, Sligo, Ireland
5
Centre for Precision Engineering, Materials and Manufacturing Research (PEM), Institute of Technology Sligo, Sligo, Ireland
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Dirk Poelman
Received: 12 February 2016 / Revised: 2 April 2016 / Accepted: 6 April 2016 / Published: 14 April 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advancement of Photocatalytic Materials 2016)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [2133 KB, uploaded 14 April 2016]   |  

Abstract

Graphitic carbon nitride (g-C3N4) and titanium dioxide (TiO2) were chosen as a model system to investigate photocatalytic abilities of heterojunction system under UV and visible light conditions. The use of g-C3N4 has been shown to be effective in the reduction in recombination through the interaction between the two interfaces of TiO2 and g-C3N4. A simple method of preparing g-C3N4 through the pyrolysis of melamine was employed, which was then added to undoped TiO2 material to form the g-C3N4–TiO2 system. These materials were then fully characterized by X-ray diffraction (XRD), Brunauer Emmett Teller (BET), and various spectroscopic techniques including Raman, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR), diffuse absorbance, and photoluminescence analysis. Photocatalysis studies were conducted using the model dye, rhodamine 6G utilizing visible and UV light irradiation. Raman spectroscopy confirmed that a composite of the materials was formed as opposed to a mixture of the two. Using XPS analysis, a shift in the nitrogen peak to that indicative of substitutional nitrogen was detected for all doped samples. This is then mirrored in the diffuse absorbance results, which show a clear decrease in band gap values for these samples, showing the effective band gap alteration achieved through this preparation process. When g-C3N4–TiO2 samples were analyzed under visible light irradiation, no significant improvement was observed compared that of pure TiO2. However, under UV light irradiation conditions, the photocatalytic ability of the doped samples exhibited an increased reactivity when compared to the undoped TiO2 (0.130 min−1), with 4% g-C3N4–TiO2 (0.187 min−1), showing a 43.9% increase in reactivity. Further doping to 8% g-C3N4–TiO2 lead to a decrease in reactivity against rhodamine 6G. BET analysis determined that the surface area of the 4% and 8% g-C3N4–TiO2 samples were very similar, with values of 29.4 and 28.5 m2/g, respectively, suggesting that the actual surface area is not a contributing factor. This could be due to an overloading of the system with covering of the active sites resulting in a lower reaction rate. XPS analysis showed that surface hydroxyl radicals and oxygen vacancies are not being formed throughout this preparation. Therefore, it can be suggested that the increased photocatalytic reaction rates are due to successful interfacial interactions with the g-C3N4-doped TiO2 systems. View Full-Text
Keywords: titanium dioxide; graphitic carbon nitride; photocatalytic activity titanium dioxide; graphitic carbon nitride; photocatalytic activity
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Fagan, R.; McCormack, D.E.; Hinder, S.J.; Pillai, S.C. Photocatalytic Properties of g-C3N4–TiO2 Heterojunctions under UV and Visible Light Conditions. Materials 2016, 9, 286.

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