Novel CuO/chitosan nanocomposite thin film: facile hand-picking recoverable, efficient and reusable heterogeneous photocatalyst
The present work demonstrates a new simple hand-picking technique for the 100% recovery of a photocatalyst. CuO nanospheres were synthesized by a simple wet chemical method and were subsequently embedded into the biopolymer matrix (chitosan) under mild conditions by the solution cast method and its photocatalytic application towards the degradation of organic pollutants was measured for the first time. The crystal structure, optical properties, surface and bulk morphology were discussed in detail. ICP-OES analysis showed 3.025% copper embedded in the chitosan (CS) matrix. Efficiency of the CuO/chitosan was evaluated against the degradation of rhodamine B dye as a probe. The combination of CuO nanospheres with chitosan leads to the higher efficiency of up to 99% degradation of the dye with 60 minutes of irradiation. This may be attributed to many features such as the slow electron hole pair recombination rate of nanosized CuO in the biopolymer matrix, the large surface area of the CuO and the high adsorption efficiency of the chitosan. The major advantage of this present protocol is that it is not only restricted to azo type dyes but can also be adopted for different kinds of organic pollutants. For all the types of organic contaminants tested, the CuO/chitosan nanocomposite thin film photocatalyst showed excellent activity. The facile hand-picking recovery and recyclability of this novel thin film likely opens up a new straightforward strategy in the effective photocatalytic degradation of organic contaminants.