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Selected Development Project
Project Title

Design and Fabrication of Highly Efficient Functionalized Graphitic Carbon Nitride Photocatalyst for Environmental Remediation


Principal Investigator Dr HO Wing Kei
Area of Research Project
Social Studies
Project Period
From 10/2013 To 10/2016
  • To synthesize functionalized visible-light-driven photocatalysts, i.e. graphitic carbon nitride (g-C3N4) by pyrolysis of nitrogen-rich precursors via polycondensation
  • To increase the surface area and crystallinity of the g-C3N4 by the optimization of the pyrolysis conditions
  • To further modify the g-C3N4 with functional species by a newly developed in-situ ultrasonic spray induced gas-phase functionalization method enhancing the photocatalytic properties
  • To evaluate the photocatalytic performance of functionalized g-C3N4 in the degradation of air pollutants such as nitrogen oxygen and formaldehyde under visible light as well as interpret their degradation mechanism of such air pollutants.
Methods Used
  • Synthesis of graphitic carbon nitride with by pyrolysis of nitrogen-rich precursors via polycondensation and optimization of pyrolysis conditions
  • Development of the in-situ ultrasonic spray induced gas-phase functionalization approach to dope different designated elements during the pyrolysis process
  • Different characterizations for the new photocatalyst to study their chemical and physical properties
  • Evaluation of visible-light-driven photocatalytic performance in removal of air pollutants
Summary of Findings
  • New visible-light-driven photocatalyst with highly active for air purification
  • Tackling the traditional problem of photocatalyst low high crystallinity and surface area
  • Increasing the efficiency of visible-light-driven photocatalyst
  • Visible-light-driven photocatalyst g-C3N4 with high surface area and good crystallinity can be fabricated. It is promising to synthesize the g-C3N4 and simultaneously functionalize it by this approach in order to enhance the visible light photocatalytic efficiency by this new approach
  • The superior photocatalytic properties of these new materials allow expectation of significant visible-light-driven/solar degradation of air pollutant and other potential applications e.g. hydrogen and carbon dioxide storage, solar cells, humidity and gas sensors.
  • Journal publication: “Fabrication of highly efficient functionalized graphitic carbon nitride photocatalyst for air purification”
  • Journal publication: “The effects of in-situ ultrasonic spray induced gas-phase functionalization approach during the pyrolysis process on the efficiency of photocatalyst”
Biography of Principal Investigator

Dr. Keith Ho has been working in the areas of air pollution control, environmental technology and nanotechnology since 2000s. He received his BSc and Ph.D degrees in chemistry from The Chinese University of Hong Kong in 2001 and 2005, respectively. Upon completing his PhD, Dr. Ho obtained a postdoctoral fellowship and continued his research in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. In 2007, he was awarded the Postdoctoral Fellowship from The Ministry of Research & Innovation in Canada and worked at The University of Western Ontario. Since 2008, Dr. Ho was also a part-time Visiting Lecturer for the BSc program of Environmental and Occupational Safety & Health and MSc program of Environmental Management and Engineering in The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. 

            In 2009, Dr. Ho took up the Technical Manager position at Nano and Advanced Materials Institute Limited (NAMI), which is one of the Hong Kong R&D Centres focusing on Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials, under the Innovation and Technology Commission (ITC) of the Hong Kong Government. In 2012, Dr. Ho joined The Hong Kong Institute of Education as Assistant Professor in the Department of Science and Environmental Studies. Dr. Ho was appointed as Visiting Professor from Chongqing Technology and Business University and Institute of Earth Environment (Chinese Academy of Sciences) in 2013 and 2014, respectively. In 2014, Dr. Ho won the Research Grants Council Early Career Award (傑出青年學者獎)2013/14 from University Grants Committee of HKSAR. In 2015, Dr. Ho won the President’s Award for Outstanding Performance in Research (Early Career Research Excellence Award) from the Hong Kong Institute of Education

            Dr. Ho is now in charge of several  projects on environmental purification as PI. He has also been in charge of several ITF projects as PI and PC at NAMI. Over the four years, he has obtained more than 7.6 million Hong Kong dollars of RGC and ITF projects as the Principal Investigator. He also participated in different research projects such as RGC, ITF and NFSC in the role of co-investigators and consultancy projects in the past ten years. 

            Dr. Ho’s research achievements have been published 70 peer-reviewed leading international journals which are totally cited 5413 times without self-citations, with average citations 400 times per year, average citations 94 times per item by others since 2001, and his h-index = 31. (from Thomson Reuters & up to Jan, 2015, SCOPUS ID: 34972988300). Several of his publications are in the Top 1% of the number of citations in its field, most cited author in that journal and the top 50 articles contributing to the Impact Factor of that journal.

Funding Source

Early Career Scheme