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Materials 2016, 9(4), 238; doi:10.3390/ma9040238

Controlled Defects of Zinc Oxide Nanorods for Efficient Visible Light Photocatalytic Degradation of Phenol

1
Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, College of Engineering, Sultan Qaboos University, PO Box 33, PC 123, Al-Khoudh, Oman
2
Chair in Nanotechnology, Water Research Center, Sultan Qaboos University, PO Box 17, PC 123, Al-Khoudh, Oman
3
Functional Materials Division, Materials and Nanophysics, ICT School, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Isafjordsgatan 22, Kista Stockholm SE-164-40, Sweden
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Greta Patzke
Received: 14 February 2016 / Revised: 9 March 2016 / Accepted: 22 March 2016 / Published: 28 March 2016
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Abstract

Environmental pollution from human and industrial activities has received much attention as it adversely affects human health and bio-diversity. In this work we report efficient visible light photocatalytic degradation of phenol using supported zinc oxide (ZnO) nanorods and explore the role of surface defects in ZnO on the visible light photocatalytic activity. ZnO nanorods were synthesized on glass substrates using a microwave-assisted hydrothermal process, while the surface defect states were controlled by annealing the nanorods at various temperatures and were characterized by photoluminescence and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. High performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) was used for the evaluation of phenol photocatalytic degradation. ZnO nanorods with high surface defects exhibited maximum visible light photocatalytic activity, showing 50% degradation of 10 ppm phenol aqueous solution within 2.5 h, with a degradation rate almost four times higher than that of nanorods with lower surface defects. The mineralization process of phenol during degradation was also investigated, and it showed the evolution of different photocatalytic byproducts, such as benzoquinone, catechol, resorcinol and carboxylic acids, at different stages. The results from this study suggest that the presence of surface defects in ZnO nanorods is crucial for its efficient visible light photocatalytic activity, which is otherwise only active in the ultraviolet region. View Full-Text
Keywords: zinc oxide; surface defect; oxygen vacancy; annealing; phenol; photocatalysis zinc oxide; surface defect; oxygen vacancy; annealing; phenol; photocatalysis
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Al-Sabahi, J.; Bora, T.; Al-Abri, M.; Dutta, J. Controlled Defects of Zinc Oxide Nanorods for Efficient Visible Light Photocatalytic Degradation of Phenol. Materials 2016, 9, 238.

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