ZnO-graphene quantum dots heterojunctions for natural sunlight-driven photocatalytic environmental remediation

Suneel Kumar, Ankita Dhiman, Pitchaimuthu Sudhagar, Venkata Krishnan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

134 Citations (Scopus)


In this work, we report the formation of heterojunctions comprising of graphene quantum dots (GQD) decorated ZnO nanorods (NR) and its use as efficient photocatalysts for environmental remediation. The heterojunctions has been designed to be active both in the UV and visible light regions and anticipated utilize the maximum part of the solar light spectrum. In this view, we examined the photocatalytic performance of our heterojunctions towards the degradation of colored pollutant (methylene blue (MB) dye) and a colorless pollutant (carbendazim (CZ) fungicide) under sunlight irradiation. Compared to bare photocatalyst ZnO and GQD, the heterojunction with 2 wt% of GQD (ZGQD2) showed the best photocatalytic activity by effectively degrading (about 95%) of organic pollutants (MB and CZ) from water within a short span of 70 min. The superior photocatalytic activity of these ZnO-GQD heterojunctions could be attributed to efficient charge carrier separation lead suppressed recombination rate at photocatalyst interfaces. In addition to the enhanced light absorption from UV to visible region, the high specific surface area of ZGQD2 heterojunction (353.447 m 2 g −1 ) also imparts strong adsorption capacity for pollutants over catalyst surface, resulting in high photoactivity. Based on the obtained results, band gap alignment at ZnO-GQD heterojunction and active species trapping experiments, a plausible mechanism is proposed for photocatalytic reaction. The excellent photostability and recyclability of the ZnO-GQD heterojunctions fostering as promising photocatalyst candidate for environmental remediation applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)802-815
Number of pages14
JournalApplied Surface Science
Early online date7 Apr 2018
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2018


  • Charge transfer
  • Environmental remediation
  • Graphene quantum dots
  • Heterojunctions
  • Photocatalysis
  • ZnO

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


Dive into the research topics of 'ZnO-graphene quantum dots heterojunctions for natural sunlight-driven photocatalytic environmental remediation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this