A facile method of activating graphitic carbon nitride for enhanced photocatalytic activity
Activated graphitic carbon nitride (g-C3N4) with enhanced photocatalytic capability under visible light irradiation was fabricated by using a facile chemical activation treatment method. In the chemical activation, a mixed solution of hydrogen peroxide and ammonia was employed. The yield can reach as high as 90% after the activation process. The activation process did not change the crystal structure, functional group, morphology and specific surface area of pristine g-C3N4, but it introduced H and O elements into the CN framework of g-C3N4, resulting in a broader optical absorption range, higher light absorption capability and more efficient separation of photogenerated electrons and holes. The photoactivity was investigated by the degradation of rhodamine B (RhB) under visible light irradiation. As compared to the pristine g-C3N4, the activated g-C3N4 exhibited a distinct and efficient two-step degradation process. It was found that the RhB dye in the activated g-C3N4 was mainly oxidized by the photogenerated holes. It is believed that sufficient holes account for the two-step degradation process because they would significantly improve the efficiency of the N-de-ethylation reaction of RhB.