The carbon vacancies and hydroxyls co-modified CN (CH[sbnd]CN) was successfully prepared using a green hydrothermal method. During the hydrothermal process, the water played an important role in etching the unstable partial of bulk CN to introduce carbon vacancies and hydroxyls into the CH[sbnd]CN nanosheets. The carbon vacancies and hydroxyls co-modified CH[sbnd]CN displayed 2.2 times higher photocatalytic NO removal performance than that of pristine CN. Detailed experimental characterizations and density functional theory calculations revealed that the enhanced photocatalytic NO removal performance of CH[sbnd]CN nanosheet was largely ascribed to synergistic effects of carbon vacancies and hydroxyls. The carbon vacancies could narrow the bandgap of modified CH[sbnd]CN nanosheet to improve the light-absorbing capability; the hydroxyls enabled to form stable covalent bonds acted as electron transport channels to facilitate the charge carrier separation. This study may provide new insights into vacancies engineering for enhancing the photocatalytic activity of CN-based photocatalysts.
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