The development of high-quality photocatalytic materials for the degradation of organic pollutants under visible light irradiation is a vital field of research. In the present study, a composite of natural sepiolite clay and synthetic graphitic carbon nitride (CN) mixed with dispersed palladium nanoparticles was developed for the efficient photocatalytic degradation of ciprofloxacin (CIP) under visible light irradiation. The sepiolite, CN, and composite materials were characterized by several techniques. The sepiolite/CN composite (SC30%) displayed superior activity than pristine sepiolite and CN, resulted from the generation of new electron trap states in the interfacial contract between sepiolite and CN to suppress the charge recombination of CN. Furthermore, the well-dispersed of 1 wt% Pd-nanoparticles in the SC30% composite collectively enhanced CIP degradation by avoiding the recombination of photogenerated electrons and holes. Additionally, the electron trap states on the surface of all samples were studied using novel reversed double-beam photoacoustic spectroscopy to understand electron transfer in the composites related to the photocatalytic degradation mechanism of CIP. The developed sepiolite/CN/Pd(0) composite can act as a potential catalyst for the degradation of organic pollutants in wastewater under visible light irradiation.
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