Titania nanotube stabilized BiOCl nanoparticles in visible-light photocatalysis†
Photocatalysis is a green approach in environmental organic pollutant decomposition. Lately, considerable improvement in the activity of photocatalysts has been achieved with the realization of p–n heterostructures due to the lifetime extension of the photogenerated charge carriers. Herein, we report a facile synthesis approach for decorating n-type titanate nanotubes with p-type V–VI–VII compound semiconductor BiOCl nanoparticles. It is well-known that BiOX (X = Cl, Br, I) materials form nanometer-thick platelets, which can eventually assemble into micrometer size flower-like 3D structures. Here, we demonstrate that the tubular titanate support can stabilize BiOCl on its surface in the form of nanoparticles measuring a few nanometers in diameter, instead of forming the well-known bismuth-oxyhalide nanoflowers. Subsequent calcination at 400 °C transforms the pristine titanate structures into one-dimensional anatase nanotubes, along with the formation of a heterojunction at the interface of the emerging Bi2Ti2O7 and anatase phases. The resulting nanocomposite shows activity in visible-light photocatalytic test reactions.