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L-Cys-modified Fe3O4 was first prepared by a one-step partially-reduced method under mild conditions. Then, novel pine cone-like Fe3O4@Cu2O/Cu nanocomposites (NCs) with photomagnetic difunction were successfully synthesized via a one-pot solvothermal method on Fe3O4 without any additional linker or reducer. The average diameter of the as-synthesized products was about 4 μm, and the products were orderly assembled into many sheets with an average thickness of 100 nm, possessing a porous structure. A possible formation mechanism of Fe3O4@Cu2O/Cu NCs involving interfacial recognization of ions, nucleation, aggregation, in situ transformation from Cu2O to Cu and Ostwald ripening process is proposed. The pine cone-like porous composites show excellent photocatalytic activity such that MO degradation efficiency is about 96% at an irradiation time of 20 min under visible light. Also, the composites present higher stability than Fe3O4@Cu2O and do not exhibit any significant loss after five recycles for the photodegradation of MO. The above results demonstrate that Cu could improve the photocatalytic activity of NCs and also inhibit the photocorrosion behavior of NCs. These novel Fe3O4@Cu2O/Cu composite materials are ideal candidates in water treatment and environmental cleaning as well as in magnetic applications, etc.
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