Enhanced visible-light-driven photocatalytic degradation of acetaminophen over CeO2/I, K-codoped C3N4 heterojunction with tunable properties in simulated water matrix

Larah Kriselle B. Paragas, Van Dien Dang, Rama Shanker Sahu, Sergi Garcia-Segura, Mark Daniel G. de Luna, Jose Antonio I. Pimentel, Ruey An Doong

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9 Scopus citations


A novel visible-light-active photocatalyst consisting of CeO2 nanoparticles and I, K-codoped graphitic carbon nitride (IK-C3N4) was engineered using urea, potassium iodate and cerium nitrate as raw materials via a facile pyrolysis method. The CeO2/IK-C3N4 composite was then applied for the rapid elimination of acetaminophen (ACT) under 465-nm visible light irradiation in aqueous solutions at different environmental parameters. The electronic images clearly showed that 5 – 20 nm CeO2 can be tightly attached onto IK-C3N4. The charge imbalance of Ce element as well as oxygen vacancy of CeO2/IK-C3N4 enhanced the photocatalytic activity of the composite. Moreover, the optical property and bandgap were easily tuned by changing the CeO2 amounts. At optimum composition of 15 wt% CeO2, the bandgap of CeO2/IK-C3N4 can narrow down to 2.38 eV. The photocatalytic activity of CeO2/IK-C3N4 heterojunction toward ACT degradation is dependent on CeO2 amounts and environmental parameters including pH, anions and initial ACT concentration. The calculated pseudo-first-order rate constants ranged from 0.039 to 0.051 min−1. The radical species trapping experiments confirmed that O2[rad]− and h+ play significant roles in ACT degradation. Thus, enhanced photodegradation of ACT is explained by type-II heterojunction mechanism. These findings provide a promising strategy of combining CeO2 and doped g-C3N4 for the effective removal of emerging pollutants under visible light irradiation, which can open a new route to synthesize novel heterojunction with high photoactivity for water purification and environmental sustainability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number117567
JournalSeparation and Purification Technology
StatePublished - Oct 1 2021


  • Carbon nitride (g-CN)
  • Co-doped graphitic type-II heterojunction
  • Emerging contaminants
  • Heterojunction
  • Visible-light-responsive photocatalysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Filtration and Separation


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