Hierarchically Porous Cu-, Co-, and Mn-Doped Platelet-Like ZnO Nanostructures and Their Photocatalytic Performance for Indoor Air Quality Control

ACS Omega. 2019 Sep 27;4(15):16429-16440. doi: 10.1021/acsomega.9b02016. eCollection 2019 Oct 8.


Several parameters, including specific surface area, morphology, crystal size, and dopant concentration, play a significant role in improving the photocatalytic performance of ZnO. However, it is still unclear which of these parameters play a significant role in enhancing the photocatalytic activity. Herein, undoped and Mn-, Co-, and Cu-doped platelet-like zinc oxide (ZnO) nanostructures were synthesized via a facile microwave synthetic route, and their ultraviolet (UV) and visible-light-induced photocatalytic activities, by monitoring the gaseous acetaldehyde (CH3CHO) degradation, were systematically investigated. Both the pure and doped ZnO nanostructures were found to be UV-active, as the CH3CHO oxidation photocatalysts with the Cu-doped ZnO one being the most UV-efficient photocatalyst. However, upon visible light exposure, all ZnO-nanostructured samples displayed no photocatalytic activity except the Co-doped ZnO, which showed a measurable photocatalytic activity. The latter suggests that Co-doped ZnO nanostructures are potent candidates for several indoor photocatalytic applications. Various complementary techniques were utilized to improve the understanding of the influence of Mn-/Co-/Cu-doping on the photocatalytic performance of the ZnO nanostructures. Results showed that the synergetic effects of variation in morphology, surface defects, that is, VO, high specific surface areas, and porosity played a significant role in modulating the photocatalytic activity of ZnO nanostructures.