The contamination of water resources by pollutants resulting from human activities represents a major concern nowadays. One promising alternative to solve this problem is the photocatalytic process, which has demonstrated very promising and efficient results. Oxide nanostructures are interesting alternatives for these applications since they present wide band gaps and high surface areas. Among the photocatalytic oxide nanostructures, zinc tin oxide (ZTO) presents itself as an eco-friendly alternative since its composition includes abundant and non-toxic zinc and tin, instead of critical elements. Moreover, ZTO nanostructures have a multiplicity of structures and morphologies possible to be obtained through low-cost solution-based syntheses. In this context, the current work presents an optimization of ZTO nanostructures (polyhedrons, nanoplates, and nanoparticles) obtained by microwave irradiation-assisted hydrothermal synthesis, toward photocatalytic applications. The nanostructures’ photocatalytic activity in the degradation of rhodamine B under both ultraviolet (UV) irradiation and natural sunlight was evaluated. Among the various morphologies, ZTO nanoparticles revealed the best performance, with degradation > 90% being achieved in 60 min under UV irradiation and in 90 min under natural sunlight. The eco-friendly production process and the demonstrated ability of these nanostructures to be used in various water decontamination processes reinforces their sustainability and the role they can play in a circular economy.
- microwave-assisted hydrothermal synthesis
- rhodamine B