Tuning the structural properties of cadmium–aluminum layered double hydroxide for enhanced photocatalytic dye degradation†
The distinctive layered structure, chemical stability and tunability of layered double hydroxides (LDHs) have led to extensive investigations in various areas of photocatalysis, including photocatalytic water splitting, carbon dioxide photoreduction, and degradation of organic pollutants. Here, a series of visible light active cadmium–aluminum layered double hydroxides (CdAl LDHs) with various Cd2+ : Al3+ ratios is synthesized via the reaction-diffusion framework (RDF) leading thereby to a hierarchal spherical structure of the LDH. The aim of this study is to develop an optimal CdAl LDH photocatalyst that is activated by solar light irradiation and tested for methylene blue (MB) degradation. The structural and physicochemical properties of the synthesized materials are determined by several imaging and spectroscopic techniques. The photocatalytic study reveals a strong dependence of the photocatalytic activity of the CdAl LDH on the cationic ratio with an optimal performance at a ratio Cd2+ : Al3+ equal to 3 : 1. A mechanism is proposed whereby the activity is ascribed to the formation of intermediate reactive oxidative species (ROS) during the photodegradation reactions and scrutinised by invoking different ROS quenchers and corroborated by density functional theory (DFT) calculations.