Facile synthesis of Au/ZnO nanoparticles and their enhanced photocatalytic activity for hydroxylation of benzene
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Au/ZnO nanocomposites have been prepared by a simple chemical method. For the first time, the nanocomposites were directly used as photocatalysts for hydroxylation of aromatic hydrocarbons under UV and visible light irradiation. The results show that the as-prepared photocatalysts display high photocatalytic activity for UV and visible catalytic hydroxylation of benzene. Without the assistance of any solvent or additive, high selectivity and high conversion efficiency were still obtained. Different photocatalytic mechanisms were proposed depending on whether excitation happens on ZnO semiconductor or on the surface plasmon band of Au. The former is Au nanoparticles act as electron buffer due to irradiation by UV light and ZnO nanoparticles as reactive sites for hydroxylation of benzene, the latter is that Au nanoparticles act as light harvesters and inject electrons into ZnO conduction band and as photocatalytic sites under visible light irradiation.