SCIENCE CHINA Materials, Volume 61, Issue 1: 101-111(2018) https://doi.org/10.1007/s40843-017-9135-y

Atypical BiOCl/Bi2S3 hetero-structures exhibiting remarkable photo-catalyst response

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  • ReceivedJun 21, 2017
  • AcceptedOct 3, 2017
  • PublishedNov 27, 2017


We demonstrate the fabrication of BiOCl/Bi2S3 which is well defined at a large scale. The BiOCl/Bi2S3 hetero-structures exhibit an enhanced photo-catalytic degradation of methyl orange (MO) compared to BiOCl and Bi2S3, attributed to the interface between Bi2S3 and BiOCl, which effectively separate the photo-induced electron-hole pairs and suppress their recombination.

Funded by

the National Natural Science Foundation of China(21371023)

and the National Key Basic Research Program of China(2015CB251100)


This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (21371023), and the National Key Basic Research Program of China (2015CB251100).

Interest statement

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Contributions statement

Tanveer M synthesized and modified all samples, performed all materials characterization and data analysis, and wrote this manuscript; Wu Y revised this manuscript; Cao C provided suggestions, helped interpret experimental results, and assisted in the preparation and revision of this manuscript. All authors contributed to the general dissicussion.

Author information

Muhammad Tanveer obtained his MSc degree in solid state physics in 2009 from the University of the Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan. Later in 2011, he joined Beijing Institute of Technology (BIT), China and completed his PhD degree in materials physics and chemistry under the supervision of Prof. Chuanbao Cao. Currently, he is an assistant professor in the University of the Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan and the University of Lahore (UOL), Gujrat Campus, Gujrat, Pakistan. His research is focused on the fabrication of novel, unusual and atypical nano/micro architectures for energy harvesting and versatile applications.

Chuanbao Cao is currently the chief responsible professor of the School of Materials Science and Engineering, Director of Research Center of Materials Science of Beijing Institute of Technology (BIT), China. His research is focused on the electrochemical energy storage and conversion including electrode materials oflithium ion battery, super-capacitors and photo-electrochemical materials. Until now, he has published more than 300 peer-review research papers, holds or has filed 50 patents and patent applications.


Supplementary information

Experimental details are available in the online version of the paper.


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  • Figure 1

    XRD patterns of (a) BiOCl precursor, (b) BiOCl/Bi2S3 hetero-structure (C3) and (c) Bi2S3.

  • Figure 2

    (a) XPS survey spectrum of a representative BiOCl/Bi2S3 hetero-structure (C3) and the corresponding high-resolution XPS spectra of Bi 4f (b), O 1s (c) and Cl 2p (d).

  • Figure 3

    (a–c) SEM images of BiOCl/Bi2S3 hetero-structure (C3); (d) HRTEM image taken from the joint of plate and a prong of a single EC like particle of BiOCl/Bi2S3 hetero-structure (C3).

  • Figure 4

    UV-vis absorption spectra of BiOCl precursor, BiOCl/Bi2S3 composites (C1, C2, C3, C4 and C5) and Bi2S3.

  • Figure 5

    Absorption spectra of photo-degradation of MO aqueous solution by different catalysts (20 mg) within 50 min of visible light irradiation at room temperature Bi2S3 (a), BiOCl (b), P25 (c), BiOCl/Bi2S3 (d) hetero-structure (C3).

  • Figure 6

    (a) A plot of the extent of photo-degradation of MO aqueous solution by different catalysts (20 mg) within 50 min of visible light irradiation at room temperature; (b) the MB normalization concentration (from the optical absorbance measurements at 504 nm) in the solution with different catalysts vs. the exposure time of the as prepared products and commercially available P25 powder; (c) first order rate constant K (min−1) of the as prepared products and commercially available P25 powder; (d) stability test of as prepared BiOCl/Bi2S3 hetero-structure composite (C3) in degrading of MO aqueous solution for 6 repeated cycles.

  • Figure 7

    SEM images of the as-prepared products for different reaction durations, under the same typical experimental conditions (a) 2 h in the absence of sulfur powder, (b) 4 h (C1), (c) 6 h (C2), (d) 10 h (C4),(e) 12 h (C5), (f) 14 h (Bi2S3).

  • Figure 8

    Growth mechanism; starting from BiOCl and formation of BiOCl/Bi2S3 hetero-structure composites then transformation into Bi2S3.

  • Figure 9

    Schematic illustration of the charge transfer and the possible reaction mechanism of BiOCl/Bi2S3 hetero-structure under visible light irradiation.

  • Figure 10

    Fluorescence spectra of 2-hydroxyl terephthalic acid (TAOH) solution generated by Bi2S3 (a), BiOCl (b), BiOCl/Bi2S3 (c), hetero-structure composite (C3) for 50 min, and (d) comparison of the amount of final TAOH generated after 50 min from (a) to (c).

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