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Electron transfer in ZnO-Fe2O3 aqueous slurry systems and effects on the visible light photocatalytic activity

Abstract

ZnFex (x = 0.025, 0.05, and 0.1) nanocomposites, pure ZnO and Fe2O3 photocatalysts were synthesized by a simple sol-gel route and characterized by means of specific surface area (SSA) analysis, X-ray diffraction (XRD), diffuse reflectance spectroscopy (DRS), and transmission electron microscopy/energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (TEM/EDS). Their photocatalytic activity was investigated under visible light by using methylene blue (MB) and benzoic acid (BA) as model compounds. Coupling ZnO and Fe2O3 results in higher photocatalytic activity with respect to the pure materials. Photoelectrochemical characterization performed in slurry systems allowed to shine some light on the electronic structure of the nanocomposites in conditions strongly mimicking the photocatalytic reaction medium. Intense electronic interactions between ZnO and Fe2O3 generate a shift of the bandgap absorption to longer wavelengths. Furthermore a shift of the photogenerated electrons potential towards less negative values could be evidenced for the first time by means of these measurements. The electronic configuration obtained after coupling the two semiconductors reduces recombination through efficient electron transfer from Fe2O3 to ZnO, thus justifying the observed photoactivity results.

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Publication details

The article was received on 31 May 2017, accepted on 10 Aug 2017 and first published on 10 Aug 2017


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7CY01085K
Citation: Catal. Sci. Technol., 2017, Accepted Manuscript
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    Electron transfer in ZnO-Fe2O3 aqueous slurry systems and effects on the visible light photocatalytic activity

    H. Lachheb, F. Ajala, A. Hamrouni, A. Houas, F. Parrino and L. Palmisano, Catal. Sci. Technol., 2017, Accepted Manuscript , DOI: 10.1039/C7CY01085K

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