One-step synthesis, electronic structure, and photocatalytic activity of earth-abundant visible-light-driven FeAl2O4
The development of inexpensive visible-light-driven photocatalysts is an important prerequisite for realizing the industrial application of photocatalysis technology. In this paper, an earth-abundant FeAl2O4 photocatalyst is prepared via facile solution combustion synthesis. Density functional theory and the scanning Kelvin probe technique are employed to ascertain the positions of the energy bands and the Fermi level. Phenol is taken as a model pollutant to evaluate the photocatalytic activity of FeAl2O4. The scavenger experiment results, ˙OH-trapping fluorescence technique, and electron spin resonance measurements confirm that the superoxide anion radical is the main active species generated in the photocatalytic process, which also further corroborates the proposed electronic structure of FeAl2O4. The degradation experiments and O2 temperature programmed desorption results over various samples verify that the crystallinity degree is a more important factor than the oxygen adsorption ability in determining photocatalytic activity.