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Plasmonic resonance excited dual Z-scheme BiVO4/Ag/Cu2O nanocomposite: Synthesis and mechanism for enhanced photocatalytic performance in recalcitrant antibiotics degradation

Abstract

The utilization of solar energy based on semiconductor photocatalysts for pollutant removal and environmental remediation has become the research hotspot and attracted great attentions. In this study, a novel ternary BiVO4/Ag/Cu2O nanocomposite has been successfully synthesized via simple wet-impregnation of Cu2O particles coupled with the subsequent photo-reduction pathway for the deposition of metallic Ag on the surface of BiVO4. The resulting BiVO4/Ag/Cu2O photocatalyst was used for the degradation of tetracycline (TC) under visible light irradiation (λ > 420 nm). Results showed that the coating contents of the Cu2O and Ag particles presented great effect on the eventual photocatalytic activity of the photocatalysts. And the optimum coating contents of Cu2O and Ag were obtained with their mass ratios of 3%, and 2%, respectively. Under the optimum conditions, nearly 91.22 % of TC removal efficiency was obtained based on ternary BiVO4/Ag/Cu2O nanocomposites, higher than that of pure BiVO4 (42.9 %), binary BiVO4/Cu2O (65.17%) and BiVO4/Ag (72.63%) nanocomposites. Meanwhile, the enhanced total organic carbon (TOC) removal efficiency also indicated the excellent photocatalytic degradation ability of the BiVO4/Ag/Cu2O nanocomposites. As for realistic application, the effects of initial TC concentration, various supporting electrolytes and different irradiation conditions were investigated in detail. Three-dimensional excitation-emission matrix fluorescence spectroscopy (3D EEMs) was used to show the by-products for TC molecules degradation. Cycling experiment indicated the high stability of the as-prepared photocatalysts. Furthermore, the results obtained in radical trapping experiments and ESR measurements suggested that the photocatalytic degradation of TC in the BiVO4/Ag/Cu2O based photocatalytic system was the joint action of the photogenerated holes (h+), superoxide radical (•O2-) and hydroxyl radical (•OH). The enhanced photocatalytic activity of BiVO4/Ag/Cu2O was attributed to the synergistic effect of Cu2O, Ag and BiVO4, especially the surface plasmon resonance effect and the established local electric field brought by metallic Ag. Additionally, to deeply understand the reaction mechanism, a dual Z-scheme charge transfer pathway has been proposed.

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Publication details

The article was received on 16 Mar 2017, accepted on 09 May 2017 and first published on 09 May 2017


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7EN00237H
Citation: Environ. Sci.: Nano, 2017, Accepted Manuscript
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    Plasmonic resonance excited dual Z-scheme BiVO4/Ag/Cu2O nanocomposite: Synthesis and mechanism for enhanced photocatalytic performance in recalcitrant antibiotics degradation

    Y. Deng, L. Tang, G. Zeng, C. Feng, H. Dong, J. Wang, H. P. Feng, Y. Liu, Y. Zhou and Y. Pang, Environ. Sci.: Nano, 2017, Accepted Manuscript , DOI: 10.1039/C7EN00237H

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