Enhanced photocatalytic activity and structural stability by hybridizing Ag3PO4 nanospheres with graphene oxide sheets†
Graphene oxide (GO)–Ag3PO4 nanocomposites synthesized through a facile solution approach via electrostatic interaction were investigated as excellent photocatalysts for the degradation of rhodamine B (RhB) under visible light irradiation. SEM and TEM observations indicate that Ag3PO4 nanospheres of ∼120 nm in diameter were well dispersed and anchored onto the exfoliated GO sheets. The characterizations of FTIR and Raman demonstrated the existence of strong charge interactions between GO sheets and Ag3PO4 nanospheres. As compared to Ag3PO4 nanospheres alone, the attachments of GO sheets led to a band gap narrowing (2.10 eV) and a strong absorbance in the near infrared region (NIR). The photoluminescence (PL) analysis indicates a more efficient separation of electron–hole pairs in the GO–Ag3PO4 nanocomposites. Notably, the incorporation of GO sheets not only significantly enhances the photocatalytic activity but also improves the structural stability of Ag3PO4. The positive synergistic effects between Ag3PO4 nanospheres and GO sheets are proposed to contribute to the improved photocatalytic properties. A possible photocatalytic mechanism of the GO–Ag3PO4 nanocomposites was assumed as well. The integration of these advantages enables such GO–Ag3PO4 hybrid material to be a nice photocatalyst for broad applications in a sewage treatment system.