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Research Article

Bi2O3/g-C3N4 hollow core–shell Z-scheme heterojunction for photocatalytic uranium extraction

Hao Fu1,2Yuehua Pan2Zhenyu Cai2Yuxiang Deng2Minchen Hou3,4Yuezhou Wei5Toyohisa Fujita2Shunyan Ning5Youbin Wang2Shaolong Zhang3( )Xinpeng Wang2( )
School of Chemistry & Chemical Engineering, Guangxi University, Nanning 530004, China
School of Resources, Environment and Materials, Guangxi University, State Key Laboratory of Featured Metal Materials and Life-cycle Safety for Composite Structures, Nanning 530004, China
College of Chemistry and Environmental Engineering, Shenzhen University, Shenzhen 518060, China
School of Materials, Sun Yat-sen University, Shenzhen 518107, China
School of Nuclear Science and Technology, University of South China, Hengyang 421001, China
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Graphical Abstract

A layered hollow core–shell Bi2O3/g-C3N4 Z-scheme heterojunction has engineered that can achieve excellent uranium extraction capabilities in both aerobic and oxygen-free conditions among other complex environments.

Abstract

Photocatalytic uranium extraction from radioactive nuclear wastewater and seawater is critical for promoting the sustainable advancement of nuclear industry, but the complexity of real-world environments, particularly the occurrence of anoxic and oxygen-enriched states, presents significant challenges to effective uranium extraction. Here, a layered hollow core–shell structure of Bi2O3/g-C3N4 Z-scheme heterojunction photocatalyst has been designed and successfully applied for photocatalytic uranium extraction in both aerobic and oxygen-free conditions, and the extraction efficiency of uranium can reach 98.4% and 99.0%, respectively. Moreover, the photocatalyst still has ultra-high extraction efficiency under the influence of pH, inorganic ions, and other factors. The exceptional capability for uranium extraction is on the one hand due to the distinctive hollow core–shell architecture, which furnishes an abundant quantity of active sites. On the other hand, benefiting from the suitable band gap structure brought by the construction of Z-scheme heterojunction, Bi2O3/g-C3N4 exhibits current densities (1.00 μA/cm2) that are 5.26 and 3.85 times greater than Bi2O3 and g-C3N4, respectively, and the directional migration mode of Z-scheme carriers significantly prolongs the lifetime of photogenerated charges (1.53 ns), which separately surpass the pure samples by factors of 5.10 and 3.19. Furthermore, the reaction mechanism and reaction process of photocatalytic uranium extraction are investigated in the presence and absence of oxygen, respectively.

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Nano Research
Pages 5845-5855
Cite this article:
Fu H, Pan Y, Cai Z, et al. Bi2O3/g-C3N4 hollow core–shell Z-scheme heterojunction for photocatalytic uranium extraction. Nano Research, 2024, 17(7): 5845-5855. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12274-024-6545-1
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Received: 08 January 2024
Revised: 02 February 2024
Accepted: 03 February 2024
Published: 15 March 2024
© Tsinghua University Press 2024
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