Role of particle size in visible light photocatalysis of Congo Red using TiO2·[ZnFe2O4]x nanocomposites
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TiO2·[ZnFe2O4]x (x = 0·0-0·5) nanocomposites (NCs) with an average particle size of 72·4 nm were synthesized by the method of co-precipitation/hydrolysis (CPH). For the comparison of particle-size dependent effects, a set of polycrystalline samples with similar compositions was also prepared by solid state reaction (SSR) route. Average particle size for SSR prepared samples was about 3·0 µm. All the samples were characterized using scanning electron microscopy (SEM), X-ray diffraction (XRD), particle size analyzer, Raman spectroscopy and Fourier transform infra-red (FTIR) spectroscopy. Their visible light photocatalytic activity was tested for the degradation of Congo Red dye. Maximum photodegradation was observed for the NC with x = 0·1 synthesized by CPH (particle size, 71 nm). Similar composition prepared by SSR method (particle size, 6·19 µm) showed lower photoactivity in comparison even with that observed for pure TiO2 (particle size, 4·03 µm). It was, therefore, concluded that enhanced photodegradation is directly related to the reduced particle size of the composites, which implies that photosensitization is the process primarily involved. Although, doping of TiO2 with ZnFe2O4 does extend the cut-off wavelength towards visible parts of the spectrum, its contribution in the enhancement is not as significant as that due to the photosensitization.
KeywordsTitanium dioxide nanocomposite photocatalysis
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