Highly efficient g-C3N4/Cr-ZnO nanocomposites with superior photocatalytic and antibacterial activity

Muhammad Azam Qamar, Sammia Shahid, Mohsin Javed, Shahid Iqbal, Mudassar Sher, Muhammad Bilal Akbar

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

95 Citations (Scopus)


Currently, fabricating a narrow bandgap photocatalyst that can degrade pollutants in natural sunlight is critical but inspiring. In this study, a hybrid g-C3N4/Cr-ZnO nanocomposite was synthesized by a simple chemical co-precipitation method and its photocatalytic and antimicrobial properties were explored. In the first step, the photocatalytic efficiency of Cr-ZnO (1−9 wt. %) nanoparticles were carried out to find out the optimum doping of Cr into ZnO. The as-prepared 5% Cr-ZnO nanoparticles demonstrated the best optical absorption of sunlight and methylene blue degradation and in the second step; these were dispersed on g-C3N4 nanosheets as an active component to form ternary heterostructured photocatalyst. The nanoparticles and composite photocatalysts were characterized by X-ray diffraction spectroscopy, energy-disperse X-ray spectroscopy, transmission electron microscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and ultraviolet-visible spectroscopy. The optimized composite (60 %g-C3N4/5%Cr-ZnO) performed enhanced harvesting of solar energy compared to ZnO, g-C3N4 and g-C3N4/ZnO composite, achieving 93 % methylene blue dye degradation in 90 min. The improved photocatalytic activity of composite can be attributed to the better absorption and electron-hole pair separation between g-C3N4 and Cr-ZnO. The photocatalytic stability of the composite was testified by cyclic tests. The antibacterial aptitude of the samples was investigated against Gram-negative (Escherichia coli) and Gram-positive (Bacillus subtilis, Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus salivarius) bacteria applying diffusion well method. The 60 %g-C3N4/5%Cr-ZnO nanocomposite exhibits higher antibacterial activity compared to other samples. The enriched photocatalytic and antimicrobial activities of the composite may be predominantly ascribed to the synergistic effect of the heterojunction developed between g-C3N4 and Cr-ZnO.

Original languageEnglish
Article number112776
JournalJournal of Photochemistry and Photobiology A: Chemistry
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Antibacterial
  • Composite
  • Cr-ZnO
  • Photodegradation
  • Water pollution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry (all)
  • Chemical Engineering (all)
  • Physics and Astronomy (all)


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