Skip to main content

Enhanced photocatalytic activity of direct Z-scheme Bi2O3/g-C3N4 composites via facile one-step fabrication

  • Shuilian Liu (a1), Jianlin Chen (a1), Difa Xu (a2), Xiangchao Zhang (a2) and Mengyao Shen (a2)...

Coupling oxidation type semiconductors is a feasible strategy to improve the photocatalytic activity of reduction type g-C3N4 photocatalysts. In this work, Bi2O3 was used as an oxidation type semiconductor to construct direct Z-scheme Bi2O3/g-C3N4 photocatalysts by a one-step calcination method. The obtained Bi2O3/g-C3N4 composites exhibited excellent photocatalytic activity and stability toward methylene blue degradation under visible light irradiation. The composite with 1% weight content of Bi2O3 to g-C3N4 exhibited the highest photocatalytic activity with an apparent rate constant of 0.063 min−1, which was 3.0 and 3.7 times higher than that of pure Bi2O3 and g-C3N4, respectively. The enhanced photocatalytic activity of the Bi2O3/g-C3N4 composite was mainly attributed to the improved charge separation efficiency and stronger redox ability. This work gave a new insight in developing g-C3N4-based Z-scheme heterojunction photocatalysts with enhanced photocatalytic activity.

Corresponding author
a)Address all correspondence to these authors. e-mail:
Hide All
1.Mehrjouei, M., Müller, S., and Möller, D.: A review on photocatalytic ozonation used for the treatment of water and wastewater. Chem. Eng. J. 263, 209 (2015).
2.Chen, C., Ma, W., and Zhao, J.: Semiconductor-mediated photodegradation of pollutants under visible-light irradiation. Chem. Soc. Rev. 42, 4206 (2010).
3.Ding, F., Yang, D., Tong, Z., Nan, Y., Wang, Y., Zou, X., and Jiang, Z.: Graphitic carbon nitride-based nanocomposites as visible-light driven photocatalysts for environmental purification. Environ. Sci.: Nano 4, 1455 (2017).
4.Mamba, G. and Mishra, A.K.: Graphitic carbon nitride (g-C3N4) nanocomposites: A new and exciting generation of visible light driven photocatalysts for environmental pollution remediation. Appl. Catal., B 198, 347 (2016).
5.Chong, M.N., Jin, B., Chow, C.W.K., and Saint, C.: Recent developments in photocatalytic water treatment technology: A review. Water Res. 44, 2997 (2010).
6.Xiong, M., Chen, L., Yuan, Q., He, J., Luo, S.L., Au, C.T., and Yin, S.F.: Controlled synthesis of graphitic carbon nitride/beta bismuth oxide composite and its high visible-light photocatalytic activity. Carbon 86, 217 (2015).
7.He, R., Zhou, J., Fu, H., Zhang, S., and Jiang, C.: Room-temperature in situ fabrication of Bi2O3/g-C3N4 direct Z-scheme photocatalyst with enhanced photocatalytic activity. Appl. Surf. Sci. 430, 273 (2018).
8.Jiang, H., Liu, G., Wang, T., Li, P., Lin, J., and Ye, J.: In situ construction of α-Bi2O3/g-C3N4/β-Bi2O3 composites and their highly efficient photocatalytic performances. RSC Adv. 5, 92963 (2015).
9.Zhang, Y., Lu, J., Hoffmann, M.R., Wang, Q., Cong, Y., Wang, Q., and Jin, H.: Synthesis of g-C3N4/Bi2O3/TiO2 composite nanotubes: Enhanced activity under visible light irradiation and improved photoelectrochemical activity. RSC Adv. 5, 48983 (2015).
10.He, R., Cao, S., and Yu, J.: Recent advances in morphology control and surface modification of Bi-based photocatalysts. Acta Phys.-Chim. Sin. 32, 2841 (2016).
11.Wang, X., Maeda, K., Thomas, A., Takanabe, K., Xin, G., Carlsson, J.M., Domen, K., and Antonietti, M.: A metal-free polymeric photocatalyst for hydrogen production from water under visible light. Nat. Mater. 8, 76 (2009).
12.Zhao, Z., Sun, Y., and Dong, F.: Graphitic carbon nitride based nanocomposites: A review. Nanoscale 7, 15 (2014).
13.Wen, J., Xie, J., Chen, X., and Li, X.: A review on g-C3N4-based photocatalysts. Appl. Surf. Sci. 391, 72 (2017).
14.Luo, Y., Wang, J., Yu, S., Cao, Y., Ma, K., Pu, Y., Zou, W., Tang, C., Gao, F., and Dong, L.: Nonmetal element doped g-C3N4 with enhanced H2 evolution under visible light irradiation. J. Mater. Res. (2018). doi: 10.1557/jmr.2017.472.
15.Fu, J., Zhu, B., Jiang, C., Cheng, B., You, W., and Yu, J.: Hierarchical porous O-doped g-C3N4 with enhanced photocatalytic CO2 reduction activity. Small 13, 1603938 (2017).
16.Fu, J., Yu, J., Jiang, C., and Cheng, B.: g-C3N4-based heterostructured photocatalysts. Adv. Energy Mater. 7, 1701503 (2017).
17.Low, J., Yu, J., Jaroniec, M., Wageh, S., and Al-Ghamdi, A.A.: Heterojunction photocatalysts. Adv. Mater. 29, 1601694 (2017).
18.Fu, Y., Li, Z., Liu, Q., Yang, X., and Tang, H.: Construction of carbon nitride and MoS2 quantum dot 2D/0D hybrid photocatalyst: Direct Z-scheme mechanism for improved photocatalytic activity. Chin. J. Catal. 38, 2160 (2017).
19.He, K., Xie, J., Luo, X., Wen, J., Ma, S., Li, X., Fang, Y., and Zhang, X.: Enhanced visible light photocatalytic H2 production over Z-scheme g-C3N4 nansheets/WO3 nanorods nanocomposites loaded with Ni(OH)x cocatalysts. Chin. J. Catal. 38, 240 (2017).
20.Wu, F., Li, X., Liu, W., and Zhang, S.: Highly enhanced photocatalytic degradation of methylene blue over the indirect all-solid-state Z-scheme g-C3N4-RGO-TiO2 nanoheterojunctions. Appl. Surf. Sci. 405, 60 (2017).
21.Zhou, P., Yu, J., and Jaroniec, M.: All-solid-state Z-scheme photocatalytic systems. Adv. Mater. 26, 4920 (2014).
22.Chen, D., Wu, S., Fang, J., Lu, S., Zhou, G., Feng, W., Yang, F., Chen, Y., and Fang, Z.: A nanosheet-like α-Bi2O3/g-C3N4 heterostructure modified by plasmonic metallic Bi and oxygen vacancies with high photodegradation activity of organic pollutants. Sep. Purif. Technol. 193, 232 (2018).
23.Shan, W., Hu, Y., Bai, Z., Zheng, M., and Wei, C.: In situ preparation of g-C3N4/bismuth-based oxide nanocomposites with enhanced photocatalytic activity. Appl. Catal., B 188, 1 (2016).
24.Xue, S., Hou, X., Xie, W., Wei, X., and He, D.: Dramatic improvement of photocatalytic activity for N-doped Bi2O3/g-C3N4 composites. Mater. Lett. 161, 640 (2015).
25.Li, Y., Wu, S., Huang, L., Xu, H., Zhang, R., Qu, M., Gao, Q., and Li, H.: g-C3N4 modified Bi2O3 composites with enhanced visible-light photocatalytic activity. J. Phys. Chem. Solids 76, 112 (2015).
26.Dang, X., Zhang, X., Chen, Y., Dong, X., Wang, G., Ma, C., Zhang, X., Ma, H., and Xue, M.: Preparation of β-Bi2O3/g-C3N4 nanosheet p–n junction for enhanced photocatalytic ability under visible light illumination. J. Nanopart. Res. 17, 93 (2015).
27.Zhang, J., Hu, Y., Jiang, X., Chen, S., Meng, S., and Fu, X.: Design of a direct Z-scheme photocatalyst: Preparation and characterization of Bi2O3/g-C3N4 with high visible light activity. J. Hazard. Mater. 280, 713 (2014).
28.Liu, G., Lu, Y., Zhang, J., Li, Z., Feng, Z., and Li, C.: Phase transformation and photocatalytic properties of Bi2O3 prepared using a precipitation method. Acta Phys.-Chim. Sin. 32, 1247 (2016).
29.Yan, H., Chen, Y., and Xu, S.: Synthesis of graphitic carbon nitride by directly heating sulfuric acid treated melamine for enhanced photocatalytic H2 production from water under visible light. Int. J. Hydrogen Energy 37, 125 (2012).
30.Li, Y., Lv, K., Ho, W., Dong, F., Wu, X., and Xia, Y.: Hybridization of rutile TiO2 (rTiO2) with g-C3N4 quantum dots (CN QDs): An efficient visible-light-driven Z-scheme hybridized photocatalyst. Appl. Catal., B 202, 611 (2017).
31.Zhu, B., Xia, P., Li, Y., Ho, W., and Yu, J.: Fabrication and photocatalytic activity enhanced mechanism of direct Z-scheme g-C3N4/Ag2WO4 photocatalyst. Appl. Surf. Sci. 391, 175 (2017).
32.Di, T., Zhu, B., Cheng, B., Yu, J., and Xu, J.: A direct Z-scheme g-C3N4/SnS2 photocatalyst with superior visible-light CO2 reduction performance. J. Catal. 352, 532 (2017).
33.Chen, S., Hu, Y., Meng, S., and Fu, X.: Study on the separation mechanisms of photogenerated electrons and holes for composite photocatalysts g-C3N4-WO3. Appl. Catal., B 150–151, 564 (2014).
34.Yan, S., Li, Z., and Zou, Z.: Photodegradation performance of g-C3N4 fabricated by directly heating melamine. Langmuir 25, 10397 (2009).
35.Huang, L., Xu, H., Li, Y., Li, H., Cheng, X., Xia, J., Xu, Y., and Cai, G.: Visible-light-induced WO3/g-C3N4 composites with enhanced photocatalytic activity. Dalton Trans. 42, 8606 (2013).
36.Cui, H.G., Chen, Z.Y., Zhong, S., Wooley, K.L., and Pochan, D.J.: Block copolymer assembly via kinetic control. Science 317, 647 (2007).
37.Fu, S., He, Y., Wu, Q., Wu, Y., and Wu, T.: Visible-light responsive plasmonic Ag2O/Ag/g-C3N4 nanosheets with enhanced photocatalytic degradation of Rhodamine B. J. Mater. Res. 31, 2252 (2016).
38.Chai, B., Zou, F., and Chen, W.: Facile synthesis of Ag3PO4/C3N4 composites with improved visible light photocatalytic activity. J. Mater. Res. 30, 1128 (2015).
39.Zhu, B., Xia, P., Ho, W., and Yu, J.: Isoelectric point and adsorption activity of porous g-C3N4. Appl. Surf. Sci. 344, 188 (2015).
40.Zhou, M., Hou, Z., and Chen, X.: Graphitic-C3N4 nanosheets: Synergistic effects of hydrogenation and n/n junctions for enhanced photocatalytic activities. Dalton Trans. 46, 10641 (2017).
41.Xu, Q., Cheng, B., Yu, J., and Liu, G.: Making co-condensed amorphous carbon/g-C3N4 composites with improved visible-light photocatalytic H2-production performance using Pt as cocatalyst. Carbon 118, 241 (2017).
42.Wang, M., Fang, M., Tang, C., Zhang, L., Huang, Z., Liu, Y., and Wu, X.: A C3N4/Bi2WO6 organic–inorganic hybrid photocatalyst with a high visible-light-driven photocatalytic activity. J. Mater. Res. 31, 713 (2016).
43.Fu, S., He, Y., , Q.W., Wu, Y., and Wu, T.: n/n junctioned g-C3N4 for enhanced photocatalytic H2 generation. Sustainable Energy Fuels 1, 317 (2017).
44.Akple, M., Low, J., Wageh, S., Al-Ghamdi, A.A., Yu, J., and Zhang, J.: Enhanced visible light photocatalytic H2 production of g-C3N4/WS2 composite heterostructures. Appl. Surf. Sci. 358, 196 (2015).
45.Cao, S., Yuan, Y., Barber, J., Loo, S., and Xue, C.: Noble-metal-free g-C3N4/Ni(dmgH)2 composite for efficient photocatalytic hydrogen evolution under visible light irradiation. Appl. Surf. Sci. 319, 344 (2014).
46.Feng, Z., Zeng, L., Chen, Y., Ma, Y., Zhao, C., Jin, R., Lu, Y., Wu, Y., and He, Y.: In situ preparation of Z-scheme MoO3/g-C3N4 composite with high performance in photocatalytic CO2 reduction and RhB degradation. J. Mater. Res. 32, 3660 (2017).
47.Xu, D., Hai, Y., Zhang, X., Zhang, S., and He, R.: Bi2O3 cocatalyst improving photocatalytic hydrogen evolution performance of TiO2. Appl. Surf. Sci. 400, 530 (2017).
48.Yu, G., Wang, K., Xiao, W., and Cheng, B.: Photocatalytic reduction of CO2 into hydrocarbon solar fuels over g-C3N4-Pt nanocomposite photocatalysts. Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 16, 11492 (2014).
49.Xu, D., Cheng, B., Cao, S., and Yu, J.: Enhanced photocatalytic activity and stability of Z-scheme Ag2CrO4-GO composite photocatalysts for organic pollutant degradation. Appl. Catal., B 164, 380 (2015).
50.Zhang, F., Wang, L., Xiao, M., Liu, F., Xu, X., and Du, E.: Construction of direct solid-state Z-scheme g-C3N4/BiOI with improved photocatalytic activity for microcystin-LR degradation. J. Mater. Res. 33, 201 (2018).
51.Liu, J. and Zhang, J.: Photocatalytic activity enhancement of TiO2 nanocrystalline thin film with surface modification of poly-3-hexylthiophene by in situ polymerization. J. Mater. Res. 31, 1448 (2016).
52.Xu, D., Cheng, B., Zhang, J., Wang, W., Yu, J., and Ho, W.: Photocatalytic activity of Ag2MO4 (M = Cr, Mo, W) photocatalysts. J. Mater. Chem. A 3, 20153 (2015).
53.Challagulla, S. and Roy, S.: The role of fuel to oxidizer ratio in solution combustion synthesis of TiO2 and its influence on photocatalysis. J. Mater. Res. 32, 2764 (2017).
54.Lyu, Z., Liu, B., Wang, R., and Tian, L.: Synergy of palladium species and hydrogenation for enhanced photocatalytic activity of {001} facets dominant TiO2 nanosheets. J. Mater. Res. 32, 2781 (2017).
55.Fujishima, A. and Zhang, X.: Titanium dioxide photocatalysis: Present situation and future approaches. C. R. Chim. 9, 750 (2006).
56.Liu, J., Cheng, B., and Yu, J.: A new understanding of the photocatalytic mechanism of the direct Z-scheme g-C3N4/TiO2 heterostructure. Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 18, 31175 (2016).
57.Yu, W., Chen, J., Shang, T., Chen, L., Gu, L., and Peng, T.: Direct Z-scheme g-C3N4/WO3 photocatalyst with atomically defined junction for H2 production. Appl. Catal., B 219, 693 (2017).
58.Shen, Z., Zhao, Z., Qian, J., Peng, Z., and Fu, X.: Synthesis of WO3−x nanomaterials with controlled morphology and composition for highly efficient photocatalysis. J. Mater. Res. 31, 1065 (2016).
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Journal of Materials Research
  • ISSN: 0884-2914
  • EISSN: 2044-5326
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-materials-research
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Type Description Title
Supplementary materials

Liu et al. supplementary material
Figures S1-S4

 Word (4.9 MB)
4.9 MB


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 2
Total number of PDF views: 18 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 78 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 10th April 2018 - 21st April 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.