Impacts of ionic liquid capping on the morphology and photocatalytic performance of SbPO4 crystals†
By using [BMIM][PO4] as a coupling agent, a novel hydrothermal method is developed to prepare microspherical SbPO4 with different morphologies and photocatalytic abilities. An evolution from flower- to sphere-shaped products was observed. Regular SbPO4 microspheres with diameters of 10–35 μm were found to exhibit excellent photocatalytic properties to degrade rhodamine B (45 min, 99%) and methylene blue (60 min, 99%) under UV light irradiation. The impacts of the ionic liquid type, capping abilities and reaction conditions on final products were revealed. It is found that by tuning the reaction time and temperature, [BMIM][PO4] can gradually react with SbCl3, forming SbPO4 products with a controllable morphology and a tailored bandgap. The distinguished photocatalytic abilities are attributed to the large surface area and low bandgap energy of the semiconductor.