Enhanced photocatalytic activity of a-Fe2 O3/g-C3 N4 composite materials for degradation of toluene in aqueous solution under visible light irradiation

Said Al Mamari, Singaravadivel Thangavel, Younghun Kim*, Rengaraj Selvaraj*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The photocatalytic oxidation method can be used to effectively remove volatile organic com-pounds present in water and has the ability to degrade even at low concentrations. This study presents the analysis of photoexcited charge carriers with a proposed Z-scheme interface of the a-Fe2 O3/g-C3 N4 composite for better photocatalytic degradation of toluene in aqueous solution. The a-Fe2 O3/g-C3 N4 heterojunction synthesized by the solvothermal method by combining a-Fe2 O3 microspheres constructed from several nanospheres with g-C3 N4 nanosheets. The prepared samples were characterized by different techniques such as X-ray diffraction, Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy, X-ray photoelectron, scanning electron microscopy, energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, high-resolution transmission electron microscopy, UV-Vis diffuse reflectance spec-troscopy, and photoluminescence in order to analyze their elemental composition and optical properties. The degradation of toluene as a volatile organic compound candidate is analyzed to determine the photocatalytic efficiency. It is observed that narrowing the band gap in the hete-ro-composite structure increases the charge carrier mobility and reduces the recombination rate. Furthermore, the electrons migrate from the conduction band of a-Fe2 O3 to the valence band of g-C3 N4 due to the shift in the interfacial interaction band position. The 60% a-Fe2 O3/g-C3 N4 composite exhibits the highest photocatalytic activity among all samples and more than 90% degradation of toluene in water is achieved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)94-103
Number of pages10
JournalDesalination and Water Treatment
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022


  • Degradation
  • Photocatalyst
  • Toluene
  • Visible light
  • Water treatment
  • a-Fe2 O3
  • g-C3 N4

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Ocean Engineering
  • Pollution

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