High UV and sunlight photocatalytic performance of porous ZnO nanostructures synthesized by a facile and fast microwave hydrothermal method

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Abstract

The degradation of organic pollutants in wastewaters assisted by oxide semiconductor nanostructures has been the focus of many research groups over the last decades, along with the synthesis of these nanomaterials by simple, eco-friendly, fast, and cost-effective processes. In this work, porous zinc oxide (ZnO) nanostructures were successfully synthesized via a microwave hydrothermal process. A layered zinc hydroxide carbonate (LZHC) precursor was obtained after 15 min of synthesis and submitted to different calcination temperatures to convert it into porous ZnO nanostructures. The influence of the calcination temperature (300, 500, and 700 °C) on the morphological, structural, and optical properties of the ZnO nanostructureswas investigated. All ZnO samples were tested as photocatalysts in the degradation of rhodamine B (RhB) under UV irradiation and natural sunlight. All samples showed enhanced photocatalytic activity under both light sources, with RhB being practically degraded within 60 min in both situations. The porous ZnO obtained at 700 °C showed the greatest photocatalytic activity due to its high crystallinity, with a degradation rate of 0.091 and 0.084 min-1 for UV light and sunlight, respectively. These results are a very important step towards the use of oxide semiconductors in the degradation of water pollutants mediated by natural sunlight.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2385
JournalMaterials
Volume14
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 May 2021

Keywords

  • Hydrothermal synthesis
  • Microwave
  • Porous nanostructures
  • Sunlight photocatalysis
  • Zinc hydroxide carbonate
  • ZnO

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