Effects of doping zinc oxide nanoparticles with transition metals (Ag, Cu, Mn) on photocatalytic degradation of Direct Blue 15 dye under UV and visible light irradiation

  • Roya Ebrahimi
  • Khosro Hossienzadeh
  • Afshin MalekiEmail author
  • Reza Ghanbari
  • Reza Rezaee
  • Mahdi Safari
  • Behzad Shahmoradi
  • Hiua Daraei
  • Ali Jafari
  • Kaan YetilmezsoyEmail author
  • Shivaraju Harikaranahalli Puttaiah
Research Article



Azo dyes represent the most commonly used group of dyes in the textile industry. These organic dyes are mainly resistant to biodegradation and may exhibit toxic and carcinogenic properties. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of doping zinc oxide (ZnO) nanoparticles (NPs) with transition metals (silver, manganese, and copper) on the photocatalytic efficiency of ZnO NPs in the removal of Direct Blue 15 dye from aqueous environments under ultraviolet (UV) radiation and visible light irradiation.


One or two metals were used for doping the NPs. In total, seven types of undoped and transition metal-doped NPs were synthesized using the thermal solvent method with ZnO precursors and transition metal salts. The characteristics of the synthesized NPs were determined based on the scanning electron microscopy (SEM), energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX), X-ray diffraction (XRD), Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, dynamic light scattering (DLS), atomic force microscopy (AFM), and zeta potential measurements.


The produced ZnO NPs did not exhibit any particular photocatalytic activities under UV radiation and visible light irradiation. The highest removal efficiency under UV radiation was about 74% in the presence of silver-doped ZnO NPs, while the maximum efficiency under visible light was 70% in the presence of copper-doped ZnO NPs. The lowest removal efficiency was related to pure ZnO, which was 18.4% and 14.6% under UV and visible light irradiation, respectively. Although the efficiency of dye removal under visible light was not high compared to UV radiation, this efficiency was noteworthy in terms of both practical and economic aspects since it was achieved without the presence of ultraviolet radiation.


The synthesis of transition metal-doped ZnO nanophotocatalysts (with one or two metals) under UV radiation or visible light irradiation could be used as an efficient and promising technology for the photocatalytic removal of Direct Blue 15 dye from aqueous environments.


Direct Blue 15 Doping Photocatalytic removal Transition metals Zinc oxide nanoparticles 



Atomic Force Microscopy


Advanced Oxidation Processes


Chemical Abstracts Service


Conduction Band


Dynamic Light Scattering


European Community


Energy-Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy


Electrophoretic Light Scattering


Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy




Phase Analysis Light Scattering


Scanning Electron Microscopy




Valence Band


X-ray Diffraction



The authors offer their thanks to the sponsors of the project.

Authors’ contributions

Designed the study, coordinated all the experiments, participated in manuscript preparation and final approval of the manuscript: AM, KY. Helped in manuscript preparation, data analysis and final approval of the manuscript: RE, BS. Performed laboratory tests, contributed to manuscript preparation and final approval of the manuscript: KH, HD, Contributed to data analysis and interpretation: RG, MS, and RR. Statistical analysis, critical revision: AJ, SHP. All authors reviewed and approved of the final manuscript.


This manuscript is extracted from the project approved by the Environmental Health Research Center and funded by the Kurdistan University of Medical Sciences (IR.MUK.REC.1396/89).


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Environmental Health Research Center, Research Institute for Health DevelopmentKurdistan University of Medical SciencesSanandajIran
  2. 2.Social Determinant of Health ResearchQazvin University of Medical SciencesQazvinIran
  3. 3.School of HealthLorestan University of Medical SciencesKhorramabadIran
  4. 4.Department of Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Civil EngineeringYildiz Technical University, Davutpasa CampusEsenlerTurkey
  5. 5.Department of Water and Health, Faculty of Life SciencesJagadguru Sri Shivarathreeshwara UniversityMysuruIndia

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