Self-assembled 3D hierarchical sheaf-like Nb3O7(OH) nanostructures with enhanced photocatalytic activity†
Novel three-dimensional (3D) hierarchical Nb3O7(OH) nanostructures with a sheaf-like nanoarchitecture were fabricated for the first time by a hydrothermal process. Interestingly, the nanosheafs are composed of nanorods with an average diameter of about 25 nm. The as-prepared 3D hierarchical nanostructures possess a high surface area of 77 m2 g−1 with pore diameters of ca. 4.2–12.5 nm. A possible growth mechanism based on the combined Ostwald ripening and self-assembly process was proposed. It is found that both the valence-band top and the conduction-band bottom consist of O 2p and Nb 4d orbitals. Importantly, the 3D hierarchical Nb3O7(OH) nanostructures exhibit enhanced photocatalytic activity for the degradation of Rhodamine B (RhB) under UV-visible light, which is attributed to the unusual hierarchical structure, high surface area, and hybridization of energy bands.