Rapid photocatalytic degradation of acetaminophen and levofloxacin using g-C3N4 nanosheets under solar light irradiation

Faisal Al Marzouqi, Rengaraj Selvaraj*, Younghun Kim

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Rapid photocatalytic performance was targeted through modifying the graphite-like carbon nitride (g-C3N4) bulk materials to nanosheet structure via thermal oxidation etching process. Simple thermal oxidation etching treatment was used in order to reduce multilayer g-C3N4 structure to nanosheet material. The differences in the obtained sample of g-C3N4 nanosheets and pristine g-C3N4 were characterised via scanning electron microscopy (SEM), energy-dispersive x-ray spectroscopy (EDX), x-ray diffraction (XRD), x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), Photoluminescence (PL), Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), UV-vis diffuse reflectance spectroscopy (UV-vis DRS), Brunauer-Emmett-Teller (BET) analysis and particle size analysis. The photocatalytic efficiency was tested for the degradation of acetaminophen and levofloxacin under direct solar irradiation. The results showed some variation in XRD, particle size and BET results indicating that etching process was evolved in reducing the particles size and lowering the layers number in g-C3N4 bulk sample. The optical and band gap properties results noticed some variation where the XPS and FTIR spectra showed some modification on g-C3N4 nanosheet motif such as the C-H, CO and N pyridinic structure. Accordingly, the photocatalytic degradation of acetaminophen by the g-C3N4 nanosheets under solar irradiation was much faster and reached 99% in one hour where in the case of g-C3N4 bulk sample the degradation reached only 38% in 4 h. Similarly, levofloxacin degradation with nanosheet sample reached 99% in one hour compare to 16% in presence of the bulk sample. This enhancement can be attributed to multiple factors such as smaller particle size, rich carbon surface and lower band gap exhibited by the g-C3N4 nanosheets. This further indicates that the performance of g-C3N4 can be further enhanced via this method and can used to treat wastewater contaminated by pharmaceuticals under solar irradiation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number125538
JournalMaterials Research Express
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • acetaminophen
  • carbon nitride
  • graphite
  • levofloxacin
  • nanosheet/photocatalyst

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Metals and Alloys


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