Environment-Friendly Carbon Quantum Dots/ZnFe2O4Photocatalysts: Characterization, Biocompatibility, and Mechanisms for NO Removal

Yu Huang, Yanling Liang, Yongfang Rao, Dandan Zhu, Jun Ji Cao, Zhenxing Shen, Wingkei Ho, Shuncheng Lee

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

257 Citations (Scopus)


A highly efficient and environmentally-friendly oxidation process is always desirable for air purification. This study reported a novel carbon quantum dots (CQDs)/ZnFe2O4composite photocatalyst for the first time through a facile hydrothermal process. The CQDs/ZnFe2O4(15 vol %) composite demonstrates stronger transient photocurrent response, approximately 8 times higher than that of ZnFe2O4, indicating superior transfer efficiency of photogenerated electrons and separation efficiency of photogenerated electron-hole pairs. Compared with pristine ZnFe2O4nanoparticles, CQDs/ZnFe2O4displayed enhanced photocatalytic activities on gaseous NOxremoval and high selectivity for nitrate formation under visible light (λ > 420 nm) irradiation. Electron spin resonance analysis and a series of radical-trapping experiments showed that the reactive species contributing to NO elimination were ·O2-and ·OH radicals. The possible mechanisms were proposed regarding how CQDs improve the photocatalytic performance of ZnFe2O4. The CQDs are believed to act as an electron reservoir and transporter as well as a powerful energy-transfer component during the photocatalysis processes over CQDs/ZnFe2O4samples. Furthermore, the toxicity assessment authenticated good biocompatibility and low cytotoxity of CQDs/ZnFe2O4. The results of this study indicate that CQDs/ZnFe2O4is a promising photocatalyst for air purification. (Chemical Equation Presented).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2924-2933
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 7 Mar 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry


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