Plasma-treatment of polymeric carbon nitride for efficient NO abatement under visible light

Qimiao Zeng, Jiupai Ni, Davide Mariotti, Lanying Lu, Hong Chen, Chengsheng Ni

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Photocatalysis is considered to be efficient in combatting emission nitrogen oxide (NO x ), which is one of the atmospheric pollutants affecting human health. Polymeric carbon nitride (PCN) is a low-cost polymeric photocatalyst with a two-dimensional structure that is sensitive to the visible sunlight in the solar spectrum, but its photocatalytic efficiency needs to be enhanced for the purpose of pollutant abatement. In this study, PCN was treated using a facile ambient pressure dielectric barrier discharge (DBD) plasma in air, Ar and Ar-5% H2 flow. According to the spectroscopic characterization and NO removal tests, the DBD plasma did not destroy the crystal structure of PCN, but improved the separation efficiency of photogenerated charges and enhanced the capacity of NO abatement. The plasma treatment in Ar-5% H2 showed an optimal removal efficiency of 69.19% and a selectivity for nitrate of 90.51% under visible light irradiation. The hydrogen plasma etched the PCN surface, resulting in more defects (carbon vacancies) and carbonyl group on the surface, while the air plasma was found to increase the suspending –NO x bonding on the surface for the increased NO x emission under illumination. The generation of high-energy electron and reactive radicals in the electrical discharges could cause the surface modification of PCN for efficient photocatalysis.
Original languageEnglish
Article number354003
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Physics D: Applied Physics
Issue number35
Early online date22 Jun 2022
Publication statusPublished online - 22 Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by Chongqing Science and Technology Committee of China (cstc2021ycjh-bgzxm0162), research funding for central universities of China (SWURC2020002), and EPSRC of UK (EP/R023638/1; EP/M015211/1 and EP/K022237/1). Funding from Chongqing Technology and Business University Scientific Research Project (1956017) and the Science and Technology Research Program of Chongqing Municipal Education Commission (Grant No. KJQN201900843) is also acknowledged. Chengsheng Ni also would express gratitude to the award of Chongqing Bayu Young Scholar from Chongqing Teaching Committee and Funding for Oversea Returnees.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 IOP Publishing Ltd.


  • DBD plasma
  • NO removal
  • polymeric carbon nitride
  • visible light photocatalysis


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