Influence of nanoscale defects on the improvement of photocatalytic activity of Ag/ZnO

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This study presents the advances in the field of ZnO/Ag catalysts from the synthesis of hierarchical ZnO nanowires (NWs) decorated with Ag nanoparticles, prepared by a facile solvothermal method at 120°C. It evaluates the photocatalytic efficiency from studying the time reaction of Ag/Zn concentration ratio and the presence of cetyltrimethylammonium bromide (CTAB) as an organic dispersant. X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy, and analytical/high-resolution transmission electron microscopy results confirmed the presence of homogeneous cylindrical ZnO nanowires and quasi-spherical Ag crystals. ZnO NWs exhibited hexagonal wurtzite structure and cubic FCC symmetry in Ag nanoparticles (NPS). Two types of nanostructures, including homogeneous cylindrical ZnO NWs in the absence of Ag and simultaneous presence of ZnO NWs and Ag NPs, formed depending on experimental conditions. The photocatalytic activity was evaluated by studying methylene blue (MB) degradation time under UV light excitation. Diffuse reflectance UV–Vis spectrophotometry (UV–Vis DRS) allowed identifying the ZnO absorption band at ~393 nm. Crystal size varied depending on the reaction time and the addition of CTAB. Synthesis time increased bandgap values, getting better photocatalytic performance in samples synthesized in intermediate times (6 h), higher Ag+/Zn2+ molar ratio (0.2/1.0), and CTAB. According to HRTEM observations, the presence of silver nanocrystals with high content of defects (twinning, stacking faults) could play an essential role in the photocatalytic response. In this context, the specific synthesis conditions of Ag/ZnO might be more appropriate for their use in organic dyes degradation in water and the potential use in protective treatments against materials biodeterioration processes.
Ag/Zno, Nanostructured system, Nanoscale defects, Solvothermal method, Photocatalysis
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Muñoz-Fernandez, L., Gomez-Villalba, L., Milošević, O. & Rabanal, M. (2022). Influence of nanoscale defects on the improvement of photocatalytic activity of Ag/ZnO. Materials Characterization, 185, 111718.