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Construction of layered h-BN/TiO2 hetero-structure and probing of the synergetic photocatalytic effect

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  • ReceivedJun 21, 2019
  • AcceptedSep 5, 2019
  • PublishedOct 25, 2019

Abstract

A novel layered hexagonal boron nitride/titanium dioxide (h-BN/TiO2) composite photocatalyst has been constructed by anchoring TiO2 nanoflakes on the surface of h-BN flakes via a solvothermal method. The morphology and dispersion of TiO2 can be tuned by controlling the amount of flake h-BN. Benefiting from the unique hetero-structure, the photocatalytic performance of the obtained composite toward rhodamine B (RhB) degradation is greatly enhanced, among which 12 wt% h-BN/TiO2 composites show 3.5 and 6.9 times higher degradation rate than the synthesized TiO2 and commercial TiO2 (P25), respectively, and an excellent cycling stability has also been obtained. Moreover, the first-principles calculation reveals the synergetic catalytic effect between TiO2 and h-BN flake, which is found to be responsible for the significantly enhanced photocatalytic performance of h-BN/TiO2 composites.


Funded by

the National Natural Science Foundation for Excellent Young Scholars of China(51522402)

the National Postdoctoral Program for Innovative Talents(BX20180034)

the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities(FRF-TP-18-045A1)

and China Postdoctoral Science Foundation(2018M641192)


Acknowledgment

This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation for Excellent Young Scholars of China (51522402), the National Postdoctoral Program for Innovative Talents (BX20180034), the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (FRF-TP-18-045A1), and China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (2018M641192).


Interest statement

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


Contributions statement

Hou X, Chen J, Liang T and Shi J supervised the experiment. Li Q and Yang T proposed the idea. Li Q designed and performed the experiment and wrote the paper. Fang Z contributed to the DFT calculations. Cui X and Hou X revised the paper. All authors contributed to the general discussion.


Author information

Qun Li is currently studying for her PhD degree in the University of Science and Technology Beijing, China. Her research focuses on the preparation of materials, electrochemical and adsorption application


Xinmei Hou received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from Zhengzhou University, and got her PhD degree from the University of Science and Technology Beijing in 2009. Now she is a full professor of University of Science and Technology Beijing. Her research interests include the preparation of high performance ceramics, high temperature properties and functional applications in such fields of electrochemistry and environment.


Xiangzhi Cui received her PhD degree in 2009 from Shanghai Institute of Ceramics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and has been working at the institute since then. Her main research interest includes the structural design and synthesis of mesostructured nanocomposites, and the catalytic performances of the materials for applications in fuel cells and environmental protection.


Supplement

Supplementary information

Supporting data are available in the online version of the paper.


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  • Figure 1

    The XRD patterns of h-BN, TiO2 and h-BN/TiO2 samples with different contents of flake h-BN.

  • Figure 2

    SEM (a) and TEM (b, c) images of the h-BN sample. SEM (d) and TEM (e, f) images of 12 wt% h-BN/TiO2. (g) Schematic illustration of the synthetic process and growth mechanism for 2D/2D h-BN/TiO2 composites.

  • Figure 3

    XPS spectra of as-prepared TiO2 and 12 wt% BN/TiO2 composite, (a) Ti 2p and (b) O1s.

  • Figure 4

    (a) Photodegradation rates of RhB and (b) kinetics of RhB degradation on TiO2 and h-BN/TiO2 samples and (c) the corresponding reaction rate constant k. (d) UV-vis absorption spectra and images (inset) of the aqueous RhB solution in the presence of 12 wt% h-BN/TiO2 at different time intervals. (e) Reusability property of 12 wt% h-BN/TiO2 composites on the photocatalytic degradation of RhB under visible light. (f) XRD patterns of the 12 wt% h-BN/TiO2 before and after the reusability experiment.

  • Figure 5

    (a) PL emission spectra, (b) transient photocurrent responses, and (c) EIS of TiO2 and h-BN/TiO2 composites with different contents of flake h-BN. (d) Photocatalytic degradation of RhB on 12 wt% h-BN/TiO2 composites in the presence of different scavengers under visible light irradiation. DMPO spin-trapping ESR spectra in (e) methanol dispersion and (f) aqueous dispersion using 12 wt% h-BN/TiO2 under visible light irradiation.

  • Figure 6

    DFT calculation. (a, b) Band structures of TiO2 and h-BN/TiO2, respectively. (c, d) Contribution of N, O and Ti orbitals on band structure and density of state, respectively. (e) The adsorption energy of two kinds of molecules with ethyl groups in RhB absorbed on TiO2 and h-BN/TiO2. (f, g) Difference charge densities of TiO2 combined with/without h-BN and h-BN/TiO2 adsorbed with/without RhB.

  • Figure 7

    Photocatalytic degradation mechanism of h-BN/TiO2 composite.

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