Journal of Materials Science

, Volume 54, Issue 17, pp 11417–11434 | Cite as

Synthesis of g-C3N4/NiO p–n heterojunction materials with ball-flower morphology and enhanced photocatalytic performance for the removal of tetracycline and Cr6+

  • Dadao WangEmail author
  • Jian Li
  • Zhifeng Xu
  • Yeran Zhu
  • Guoxin Chen
  • Zheng Cui
Chemical routes to materials


A novel three-dimensional ball-flower-like g-C3N4/NiO (GN) photocatalyst was firstly fabricated by a simple two-step calcination method for enhanced degradation capability. Our investigation focuses on the construction of p–n heterojunction and specific ball-flower-like structure to overcome limitations of single-component semiconductors, such as low surface area, poor light response and fast recombination of the photogenerated electrons and holes. Detailed photocatalytic experiments revealed that the novel ball-flower-like GN (50%) exhibited much higher activity for the removal of TC and Cr6+ than single g-C3N4, NiO and traditional layered GN. The trapping experiments proved that the superoxide radicals (\( ^{ \cdot } {\text{O}}_{2}^{ - } \)), holes (h+) and electrons (e)were the main active species in the photodegradation process. Moreover, three different degradation pathways and fourteen intermediate products of TC were also determined by the LC/MS analysis and these intermediates could be further degraded completely into CO2, H2O, \( {\text{NH}}_{4}^{ + } \), carboxylic acids and any other inorganic intermediates. These results will benefit the fabrication of other 3D p–n heterojunction photocatalysts and their potential application in treatment of organic pollutants.


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of the interest

The authors declared that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research Center on New Materials in Hydraulic Structures, Ministry of Water ResourcesNanjing Hydraulic Research InstituteNanjingChina
  2. 2.Nanjing R&D High Technology Co. LtdNanjingChina

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