Photocatalytic treatment is a remarkable process that is popular for the degradation of several organic contaminants in wastewater. In this work, a series of graphitic carbon nitride/ZnTi-mixed metal oxide (CN/ZnTi-MMO) composites were prepared as photocatalysts through simple calcination. The CN-MMO samples were characterized and applied for photocatalytic degradation of ciprofloxacin (CIP), which is an antibiotic model pollutant. The optimized CN/ZnTi-MMO composite showed complete degradation of CIP within 20 min, leading to a rate constant that is approximately 6 times that of pristine CN and 7 times that of ZnTi-MMO. The increase in the degradation rate of the optimized CN/ZnTi-MMO composite was attributed to the excellent separation and transportation of photogenerated electron-holes pairs, as proven by the photoluminescence, photocurrent density, and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy results. Moreover, the energy-resolved distribution of the electron trap (ERDT) pattern of the composite sample suggests the formation of an interfacial electron trap state due to interfacial contraction in the composite, resulting in the excited electrons being trapped and avoiding charge recombination. Based on the optical properties, ERDT results, and activity test, a photocatalytic degradation mechanism of CIP over a CN/ZnTi-MMO composite was proposed. Additionally, the degraded solution showed less bio-toxicity than the original CIP solution. Thus, the CN/ZnTi-MMO composite can be employed as a potential visible-light-driven photocatalyst for the detoxification of pharmaceutical wastewater.
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