Heterogeneous catalysts with ultra-small clusters and atomically dispersed (USCAD) active sites have gained increasing attention in recent years. However, developing USCAD catalysts with high-density metal sites anchored in porous nanomaterials is still challenging. Here, through the template-free S-assisted pyrolysis of low-cost Fe-salts with melamine (MA), porous alveolate Fe/g-C3N4 catalysts with high-density (Fe loading up to 17.7 wt%) and increased USCAD Fe sites were synthesized. The presence of a certain amount of S species in the Fe-salts/MA system plays an important role in the formation of USCAD S-Fe-salt/CN catalysts; the S species act as a “sacrificial carrier” to increase the dispersion of Fe species through Fe-S coordination and generate porous alveolate structure by escaping in the form of SO2 during pyrolysis. The S-Fe-salt/CN catalysts exhibit greatly promoted activity and reusability for degrading various organic pollutants in advanced oxidation processes compared to the corresponding Fe-salt/CN catalysts, due to the promoted accessibility of USCAD Fe sites by the porous alveolate structure. This S-assisted method exhibits good feasibility in a large variety of S species (thiourea, S powder, and NH4SCN) and Fe salts, providing a new avenue for the low-cost and large-scale synthesis of high-density USCAD metal/g-C3N4 catalysts.
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