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Research Article

Coupled Cu doping and Z-scheme heterojunction for synergistically enhanced tetracycline photodegradation

Huidong Shen1Chunming Yang2Song Hong1Leiduan Hao1Liang Xu1Alex W. Robertson3Zhenyu Sun1( )
Country State Key Laboratory of Organic-Inorganic Composites, College of Chemical Engineering, Beijing University of Chemical Technology, Beijing 100029, China
Shaanxi Key Laboratory of Chemical Reaction Engineering, College of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Yan’an University, Yan’an 716000, China
Department of Physics, University of Warwick, Coventry CV 47AL, UK
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Graphical Abstract

A novel Z-scheme S-C3N4/Cu/C-TiO2 heterojunction is successfully constructed, which demonstrates excellent photocatalytic performances for tetracycline hydrochloride degradation. The superior performance is attributed to the synergy between Cu doping and Z-scheme heterojunction, which not only enhances the interfacial electric field effect, thus boosting charge separation, but also facilitates the redox capability.

Abstract

Semiconductor-based photocatalysis by utilizing solar energy for sustainable organic pollutant elimination has been a promising tactic to alleviate environmental issues. Nevertheless, the development of robust and efficient photocatalysts to degrade organic pollutants still faces major challenges because of insufficient charge separation. Here we design and fabricate a heterojunction consisting of copper, carbon-modified TiO2, and sulfur-doped g-C3N4 nanosheets (i.e., S-C3N4/Cu/C-TiO2). The heterostructure affords a remarkable synergistic photocatalysis for tetracycline hydrochloride degradation, achieving an 82.6% removal efficiency within 30 min under visible light irradiation, about 15.4 and 7.3 times higher than that of S-C3N4 and C-TiO2, respectively. The superior performance is attributed to the synergy between Cu doping and the Z-scheme heterojunction, which not only enhances the interfacial electric field effect, facilitating charge separation, but also boosts the redox capability. The charge carrier transfer between Cu/C-TiO2 and S-C3N4 follows a Z-scheme, as verified by trapping experiments, electron spin-resonance spectroscopy, and density functional theory calculations. Furthermore, the tetracycline hydrochloride degradation pathways are enunciated by liquid chromatograph mass spectrometry analysis. This work provides an effective approach for constructing high-performance photocatalysts that have potential in environmental remediation.

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Nano Research
Pages 5937-5948
Cite this article:
Shen H, Yang C, Hong S, et al. Coupled Cu doping and Z-scheme heterojunction for synergistically enhanced tetracycline photodegradation. Nano Research, 2024, 17(7): 5937-5948. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12274-024-6614-5
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Received: 18 December 2023
Revised: 02 March 2024
Accepted: 10 March 2024
Published: 12 April 2024
© Tsinghua University Press 2024
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