We fabricated novel ternary nanocomposites through integration of C-dots (carbon dots), BiOCl, and nanosheets of graphitic carbon nitride (g-C3N4 nanosheets) by a cost-effective route. The fabricated photocatalysts were subsequently characterized by XRD, EDX, TEM, HRTEM, XPS, FT-IR, UV-vis DRS, TGA, BET, and PL methods to gain their structure, purity, morphology, optical, textural, and thermal properties. In addition, the degradation intermediates were identified by gas chromatography-mass spectroscopy (GC-MS). Photocatalytic performance of the synthesized samples was studied by photodegradations of three cationic (RhB, MB, and fuchsine), one anionic (MO) dyes, one colorless (phenol) pollutant and removal of an inorganic pollutant (Cr(VI)) under visible light. It was revealed that the ternary nanocomposite with loading 20% of BiOCl illustrated superlative performances in the selected photocatalytic reactions compared with the corresponding bare and binary photocatalysts. Visible-light photocatalytic activity of the g-C3N4 nanosheets/CDs/BiOCl (20%) nanocomposite was 42.6, 27.8, 24.8, 20.2, and 15.9 times higher than the pure g-C3N4 for removal of RhB, MB, MO, fuchsine, and phenol, respectively. Likewise, the ternary photocatalyst showed enhanced activity of 15.3 times relative to the g-C3N4 in photoreduction of Cr(VI). Moreover, the ternary nanocomposite exhibited excellent chemical stability and recyclability after five cycles. Finally, the mechanism for improved photocatalytic performance was discussed based on the band potential positions.
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