Gamma radiation as a green method to enhance the dielectric behaviour, magnetization, antibacterial activity and dye removal capacity of Co–Fe LDH nanosheets
Nowadays, improving the physico-chemical properties of nanomaterials to enhance their performance towards various applications is urgent. Accordingly, gamma irradiation (GI) has evolved and attracted wide attention as a promising green technique to meet this need. In the current study, a Co–Fe LDH was used as a model 2D nanomaterial and was irradiated by GI (dose = 100 kGy). The sample was characterized via XRD, FTIR, FESEM, HRTEM, hydrodynamic size, zeta potential, and BET surface area measurements. The results showed that after irradiation, the surface area of the sample increased from 83 to 89 m2 g−1. Moreover, irradiation increased its dielectric constant, dielectric loss and AC conductivity. In addition, the sample showed superparamagnetic behavior, where its saturation magnetization increased from 1.28 to 52.04 emu g−1 after irradiation. Furthermore, the adsorption capacity of the irradiated LDH towards malachite green (MG) and methylene blue (MB) as model wastewater pollutants was also studied. The exposure of LDH to GI enhanced its adsorption capacity for MG from 44.73 to 54.43 mg g−1. The Langmuir–Freundlich, Sips, and Baudu models were well suited for both MG and MB adsorption among the six fitted isotherm models. The pseudo-first and second order models fit the adsorption kinetics better than the intraparticle diffusion model for both dyes. The interaction of MB and MG with the LDH surface was further investigated in dry and aqueous solution using Grand canonical Monte Carlo and molecular dynamics simulations. These two techniques provided insight into the adsorption mechanism, which is vital to understand the adsorption process by the LDH nanosheets and their possible use in practical applications. Moreover, the Co–Fe LDH showed good antibacterial activity against both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria strains. Furthermore, due to its magnetic property, the Co–Fe LDH could be simply recovered from water by magnetic separation at a low magnetic field after the adsorption process.