UV-A Light Driven Activated Charcoal Supported Bi₂O₃-ZnO Nanocomposites; Hydrothermal Synthesis and Their Enhanced Photocatalytic and Self Cleaning Applications

J Nanosci Nanotechnol. 2019 Aug 1;19(8):5089-5099. doi: 10.1166/jnn.2019.16837.

Abstract

The Activated Charcoal supported Bi₂O₃-ZnO (AC-BZ) nanocomposite is successfully synthesized by simple and efficient hydrothermal followed by thermal decomposition method. The addition of Activated charcoal into the Bi₂O₃-ZnO matrices increases the active sites and shows efficient catalytic activity upon the degradation of azo dyes, Rhodamine-B (Rh-B) and Trypan Blue (TB). Prepared photocatalysts further prove its ability by the way of structure and absorption capacity. For understanding the efficiency of photocatalyst, it was characterized by X-ray diffraction (XRD), Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscopy (FE-SEM), Field Emission Transmission Electron Microscopy (FE-TEM), High Resolution Transmission Electron Microscopy (HR-TEM), Diffused Reflectance Spectroscopy (UV-DRS), Photo Luminescense spectroscopy (PL) and N₂ adsorption- desorption isotherms (BET). The FESEM images of the activated charcoal supported Bi₂O₃-ZnO show a nanocomposite structure and reveal that most of particles have hexagonal and spherical type in nano range. Absorption range and band gap energy were examined by UV-DRS techniques, which indicate the photogenerated electrons and holes are responsible for better photocatalytic activity. The prepared AC-BZ nanocomposite has maximum efficiency at pH 7, and it shows enhanced degradation efficiency up to four cycles which proves reusability of the catalyst. The obtained catalyst shows higher efficiency in self cleaning property by forming maximum degree of contact angle when compared with pure ZnO and Bi₂O₃-ZnO. This work may provide new strategy for eco-friendly and cost effective photocatalysts for various applications.