Photoregenerable, bifunctional granules of carbon-doped g-C3N4 as adsorptive photocatalyst for the efficient removal of tetracycline antibiotic
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Environmental remediation employing semiconducting materials offer a greener solution for pollution control. Herein, we report the development of high surface area porous architecture of C3N4 nanosheets by a simple aqueous spray drying process. g-C3N4 nanosheets obtained by the thermal decomposition of urea-thiourea mixture are spray granulated to microspheres using 2 wt% poly vinyl alcohol (PVA) as binder. The post granulation thermal oxidation treatment resulted in in situ doping of carbon leading to improved photophysical properties compared to pristine g-C3N4. The C3N4 granules with surface area values of 150 m2/g rendered repetitive adsorption of tetracycline antibiotic (~75% in 60 min) and the extended absorption in the visible region facilitated complete photocatalytic degradation upon sunlight irradiation (>95% in 90 min). The delocalized p bonds generated after carbon doping and the macro-meso porous architecture created by the granulation process aided high adsorption capacity (70 mg/g). The photoregenerable, bifunctional materials herein obtained can thus be employed for the adsorption and subsequent degradation of harmful organic pollutants without any secondary remediation processes.
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