Mediator-free direct Z-scheme photocatalytic system: BiVO4/g-C3N4 organic–inorganic hybrid photocatalyst with highly efficient visible-light-induced photocatalytic activity†
We disclose the fabrication of a mediator-free direct Z-scheme photocatalyst system BiVO4/g-C3N4 using a mixed-calcination method based on the more reliable interfacial interaction. The facet coupling occurred between the g-C3N4 (002) and BiVO4 (121), and it was revealed by X-ray diffraction (XRD), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and transmission electron microscope (TEM). The crystal structure and optical properties of the as-prepared samples have also been characterized by Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR), scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and UV-vis diffuse reflectance spectra (DRS) in details. The photocatalytic experiments indicated that the BiVO4/g-C3N4 composite photocatalysts display a significantly enhanced photocatalytic activity pertaining to RhB degradation and photocurrent generation (PC) compared to the pristine BiVO4 and g-C3N4. This remarkably improved photocatalytic performance should be attributed to the fabrication of a direct Z-scheme system of BiVO4/g-C3N4, which can result in a more efficient separation of photoinduced charge carriers than band–band transfer, thus endowing it with the much more powerful oxidation and reduction capability, as confirmed by the photoluminescence (PL) spectra and electrochemical impedance spectra (EIS). The Z-scheme mechanism of BiVO4/g-C3N4 heterostructure was verified by a series of combined techniques, including the active species trapping experiments, NBT transformation and terephthalic acid photoluminescence probing technique (TA-PL) over BiVO4/g-C3N4 composites and the pristine samples. The present work not only furthered the understanding of mediator-free Z-scheme photocatalysis, but also shed new light on the design of heterostructural photocatalysts with high-performance.