Investigation on the synthesis and photocatalytic activity of activated carbon–cerium oxide (AC–CeO2) nanocomposite
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Nano-sized photocatalyst cerium oxide (CeO2) particles and activated carbon–cerium oxide (AC–CeO2) composite are prepared by facile hydrothermal technique. Their properties are analyzed by subjecting them to characterization techniques such as powder X-ray diffraction (PXRD), high-resolution scanning electron microscopy (HRSEM), energy dispersive X-ray analysis (EDX), high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM), Fourier transform infra-red spectroscopy (FTIR) and Raman spectroscopy. The photocatalytic activity of the prepared samples is monitored by UV–visible spectrophotometer. The PXRD, FTIR, Raman and EDX analyses confirm the formation of CeO2 nanoparticles. The PXRD studies revealed that the CeO2 nanoparticles and AC–CeO2 nanocomposite have face centered cubic structure. The average crystallite size of CeO2 nanoparticles and AC–CeO2 nanocomposite, estimated using Scherrer formula, is found to be 21 nm and 7 nm. The HRSEM images show that the CeO2 nanoparticles and AC–CeO2 nanocomposite have spherical morphology and some agglomeration. The HRTEM images strongly confirm spherical morphology of both CeO2 nanoparticles and AC–CeO2 nanocomposite. The particle size of the CeO2 nanoparticles and AC–CeO2 nanocomposite are in the size range 20–30 nm and 7–15 nm, respectively. The selected area electron diffraction (SAED) patterns reveal that both samples are polycrystalline in nature. The photocatalytic activity of the synthesized CeO2 nanoparticles and AC–CeO2 nanocomposite is measured by degrading methylene blue dye under solar radiation. The photocatalytic activity study shows that the AC–CeO2 nanocomposite has a degradation efficiency of 94% in 1 h for methylene blue, which is remarkably high when compared to that of CeO2 nanoparticles.
This research was partially supported by Sacred Heart College (Autonomous), Tirupattur, under the Don Bosco research grant (SHC/DB Grant/2017/03).
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