Metal-free n/n-junctioned graphitic carbon nitride (g-C3N4): a study to elucidate its charge transfer mechanism and application for environmental remediation

Sue Jiun Phang, Jin Mei Goh, Lling-Lling Tan, Wuen Pei Cathie Lee, Wee-Jun Ong, Siang-Piao Chai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Graphitic carbon nitride (g-C3N4) has been regarded as a promising visible light-driven photocatalyst ascribable to its tailorable structures, thermal stability and chemical inertness. Enhanced photocatalytic activity is achievable by the construction of homojunction nanocomposites to reduce the undesired recombination of photogenerated charge carriers. In the present work, a novel g-C3N4/g-C3N4 metal-free homojunction photocatalyst was synthesized via hydrothermal polymerization. The g-C3N4/g-C3N4 derived from urea and thiourea demonstrated admirable photocatalytic activity towards rhodamine B (RhB) degradation upon irradiation of an 18 W LED light. The viability of the photoreaction with a low-powered excitation source highlighted the economic and environmental benefits of the process. The optimal g-C3N4/g-C3N4 homojunction photocatalyst exhibited a 2- and 1.8-fold increase in efficiency in relative to pristine g-C3N4 derived from urea and thiourea respectively. The enhanced photocatalytic performance is credited to the improved interfacial transfer and separation of electron-hole pairs across the homojunction interface. Furthermore, an excellent photochemical stability and durability is displayed by g-C3N4/g-C3N4 after three consecutive cycles. In addition, a plausible photocatalytic mechanism was proposed based on various scavenging tests. Overall, experimental results generated from this study is expected to intrigue novel research inspirations in developing metal-free homojunction photocatalysts to be feasible for large-scale wastewater treatment without compromising economically.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4388–4403
Number of pages16
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Early online date17 Sept 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021


  • Dye degradation
  • Environmental remediation
  • Graphitic carbon nitride
  • Homojunction
  • Photocatalysis
  • Wastewater treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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