Controllable synthesis of recyclable core–shell γ-Fe2O3@SnO2 hollow nanoparticles with enhanced photocatalytic and gas sensing properties
Composite materials containing different components with well-defined structures may cooperatively enhance their performance and extend their applications. In this work, core–shell γ-Fe2O3@SnO2 hollow nanoparticles (NPs) were synthesized by a low-cost and environmentally friendly seed-mediated hydrothermal method. Firstly, the γ-Fe2O3 hollow NPs were synthesized by a template-free method. Then they were used as the cores for the growth of SnO2 shells. The thickness of the shell can be simply tailored by controlling the reaction time. Various techniques, including SEM, XRD, TEM and HRTEM, were employed to investigate the morphology, structure and formation process of the special core–shell hollow structures. The combination of magnetic semiconductor (γ-Fe2O3) and wide band-gap semiconductor (SnO2) endowed them with great potential to be used as recyclable photocatalysts. Experiments on photo-degradation of Rhodamin B (RhB) dye in the presence of the samples showed that the hybrid structures possessed higher photocatalytic activities than the monomer structures of SnO2 and γ-Fe2O3 materials indicating a strong coupling enhancement effect between the wide and narrow band-gap semiconductors. Moreover, the gas sensing tests of the γ-Fe2O3@SnO2 hollow NPs revealed that the samples exhibited fast response and recovery rates, which enable them to be promising materials for gas sensors.