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One-pot hydrothermal synthesis of BiVO4 microspheres with mixed crystal phase and Sm3+-doped BiVO4 for enhanced photocatalytic activity

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Abstract

The BiVO4 microspheres and Sm3+-doped BiVO4 polygons were prepared via a facile hydrothermal method by means of K6V10O28·9H2O as a novel vanadium source. Optimized temperature and pH value of prepared BiVO4 were obtained. The polycrystalline BiVO4 microspheres prepared at T = 140 °C, pH 4, demonstrates the best photocatalytic activities for degrading dyes under UV radiation. This is resulted due to transfers of photogenerated electrons from tetragonal to monoclinic phases. In contrast to the undoped BiVO4, the photocatalytic activity of Sm3+-doped BiVO4 polygons is drastically enhanced not only under UV radiation but also under visible light radiation. The optimized Sm content was found to be 10 %. Enhanced efficiency with the doped sample is attributed to the dopants’ role in blocking recombination of photogenerated electron–hole pairs. This work offers a simple route to obtain mixed phase BiVO4 and provide an effective way to achieve higher photocatalytic activity by doping the Sm3+ in the semiconductor catalysts.

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Acknowledgements

The authors acknowledge with thanks the financial support of the Scientific Research Fund of Hunan Provincial Education Department, China (16B253), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (21343008), and the Open Project Program of State Key Laboratory of Structural Chemistry, China (No. 20150018). M. Huttula acknowledges the financial supports from the Research Council of Natural Sciences of the Academy of Finland, while W. Cao acknowledges with thanks the supports from the Strategic Grant of Oulu University.

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Correspondence to Taohai Li.

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Zhu, S., Li, Q., Huttula, M. et al. One-pot hydrothermal synthesis of BiVO4 microspheres with mixed crystal phase and Sm3+-doped BiVO4 for enhanced photocatalytic activity. J Mater Sci 52, 1679–1693 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10853-016-0460-0

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