Sunlight-Driven Combustion Synthesis of Defective Metal Oxide Nanostructures with Enhanced Photocatalytic Activity
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Synthesis of metal oxide nanostructures through combustion routes is a promising technique owing to its simplicity, rapidity, scalability, and cost-effectiveness. Herein, a sunlight-driven combustion approach is developed to synthesize pristine metal oxides and their heterostructures. Sunlight, a sustainable energy source, is used not only to initiate the combustion reaction but also to create oxygen vacancies on the metal oxide surface. ZnO nanostructures are successfully synthesized using this novel approach, and the products exhibit higher photocatalytic activity in the decomposition of methyl orange (MO) than ZnO nanostructures synthesized by the conventional methods. The higher photocatalytic activity is due to the narrower band gap, higher porosity, smaller and more uniform particle size, surface oxygen vacancies, as well as the enhanced exciton dissociation efficiency induced by the sunlight. Porous Fe3O4 nanostructures are also prepared using this environmentally benign method. Surprisingly, few-layer Bi2O3 nanosheets are successfully obtained using the sunlight-driven combustion approach. Moreover, the approach developed here is used to synthesize Bi2O3/ZnO heterostructure exhibiting a structure of few-layer Bi2O3 nanosheets decorated with ZnO nanoparticles. Bi2O3 nanosheets and Bi2O3/ZnO heterostructures synthesized by sunlight-driven combustion route exhibit higher photocatalytic activity than their counterparts synthesized by the conventional solution combustion method. This work illuminates a potential cost-effective method to synthesize defective metal oxide nanostructures at scale. Copyright - 2019 American Chemical Society.
- Center for Advanced Materials Research [392 items ]