Highly dispersed TiO2 nanocrystals and WO3 nanorods on reduced graphene oxide: Z-scheme photocatalysis system for accelerated photocatalytic water disinfection

Xiangkang Zeng, Zhouyou Wang, Gen Wang, Thomas R. Gengenbach, David T. McCarthy, Ana Deletic, Jiaguo Yu, Xiwang Zhang

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178 Citations (Scopus)


Coupling TiO2 with WO3 to develop photocatalytic heterojunctions is one of the most widely used strategies to realize their superior photoactivity. However, the interfacial charge transfer in these heterojunctions is not efficient to achieve an optimized activity. For the first time, the present study reports a facile hydrolysis-hydrothermal approach, whereby ultradispersed TiO2 nanocrystals and WO3 nanorods are concurrently anchored onto reduced graphene oxide (rGO) and formed a novel Z-scheme heterojunction photocatalyst TiO2/rGO/WO3 (TRW). Transmission electron microscope (TEM), X-ray diffraction (XRD), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), UV–vis diffuse reflectance spectroscopy (UV–vis DRS) and photoluminescence spectra (PL) are employed to characterize TRW. Control experiments indicate that, in the synthesis process, glucose and the by-product sodium chloride from the hydrolysis reactions are critical for forming highly dispersed and uniform-sized TiO2 nanocrystals and WO3 nanorods. Compared with TiO2/WO3 nanocomposites, TRW shows enhanced activity for bacterial inactivation under simulated solar light. As confirmed by electrochemical characterizations and the reactive oxygen species, rGO in TRW suppresses the recombination of electron-hole pairs and boosts the O2 reduction reactions during photocatalytic process. Z-scheme electron transfer in TRW is proposed based on surface redox reactions and XPS analysis after light irradiation. This study could provide a new clue for designing graphene-based heterojunction photocatalysts for environmental applications.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-173
Number of pages11
JournalApplied Catalysis B: Environmental
Publication statusPublished - 5 Dec 2017


  • TiO2
  • WO3
  • Reduced graphene oxide
  • Z-scheme photocatalyst
  • Disinfection

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