Photocatalytic, Dye Degradation, and Bactericidal Behavior of Cu-doped ZnO Nanorods and its Molecular Docking Analysis
Nanostructures of Cu-doped ZnO (Cu:ZnO) were prepared with chemical precipitation technique with an aim to enhance photocatalytic and antibacterial properties of ZnO. Phase constitution, presence of functional groups, optical properties, elemental composition, surface morphology and microstructure were evaluated using x-ray diffractometer (XRD), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), UV-Vis spectrophotometer, energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy (EDS), field emission scanning electron microscope (FESEM) and high resolution transmission electron microscope (HR-TEM), respectively. Emission spectra were obtained with photoluminescence (PL) spectroscope whereas interlayer d-spacing was estimated through HR-TEM. ZnO consisted of hexagonal wurtzite structure. Crystallinity of the sample was observed to increase with increasing doping concentration. Addition of Cu to ZnO served to transform nanoclusters into nanorods as revealed during SEM analysis. Catalytic activity was enhanced due to the formation of nanorods and UV-Vis absorption spectra showed that methylene blue (MB) was degraded more efficiently with ZnO nanoclusters compared to NaBH4 reagent. In addition, doped NPs showed enhanced bacterial efficiency for G +ve. Finally, molecular docking study was undertaken to highlight the importance of binding interactions of Cu-doped ZnO nanorods with β-lactamase and beta-ketoacyl-acyl carrier protein synthase III (FabH) as possible enzyme targets. This research indicates that Cu-doped Zn nanorods is a highly efficient photocatalyst and can be aptly employed for wastewater treatment and antibacterial applications.