As sulfate-radical (SR)-based advanced oxidation processes are increasingly implemented, Oxone has been frequently-used for generation of SR. While Co3O4 nanoparticle (NP) has been widely-accepted as a promising catalyst for activating Oxone, Co3O4 NPs tend to aggregate in water, losing their reactivity. Thus, many attempts have immobilized Co3O4 NPs on supports, especially carbonaceous substrates, because combination of Co NPs with carbon substrates offers synergistic effects for boosting catalytic activities. Moreover, carbon substrates doped with hetero-atoms (N and S) further increase electron transfer and reactivity. Therefore, it is even promising to immobilize Co NPs onto N/S-doped carbon (NSC) to form Co-embedded NSC (denoted as CoNSC) for enhancing Oxone activation. In this study, a convenient and facile technique is proposed to prepare such a CoNSC via a simple carbonization treatment of a coordination polymer of Co and trithiocyanuric acid (TTCA). The resulting CoNSC exhibits the sheet-like hexagonal morphology with the core-shell configuration, and Co NPs are well-embedded into the N/S-doped carbonaceous matrix, making it an advantageous heterogeneous catalyst for Oxone activation. As Azorubine S (ARS) decolorization is employed as a model reaction of Oxone activation, CoNSC exhibits a higher catalytic activity than pristine Co3O4 and NSC for Oxone activation to decolorize ARS. In comparison to the other reported catalysts, CoNSC also possesses a much lower Ea for ARS decolorization. CoNSC can be also reusable and stable for Oxone activation over multiple cycles without loss of catalytic activity. These features validate that CoNSC is a promising and useful Co-based catalyst for Oxone activation.
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