Mixed phase TiO2
nanoparticles with element doping by Sm and C were prepared via a facile sol-gel procedure. The UV-Vis light-diffuse reflectance spectroscopy analysis showed that the absorption region of co-doped TiO2
was shifted to the visible-light region, which was attributed to incorporation of samarium and carbon into the TiO2
lattice during high-temperature reaction. Samarium effectively decreased the anatase-rutile phase transformation. The grain size can be controlled by Sm doping to achieve a large specific surface area useful for the enhancement of photocatalytic activity. The photocatalytic activities under visible light irradiation were evaluated by photocatalytic degradation of methylene blue (MB). The degradation rate of MB over the Sm-C co-doped TiO2
sample was the best. Additionally, first-order apparent rate constants increased by about 4.3 times compared to that of commercial Degusssa P25 under the same experimental conditions. Using different types of scavengers, the results indicated that the electrons, holes, and •OH radicals are the main active species for the MB degradation. The high visible-light photocatalytic activity was attributed to low recombination of the photo-generated electrons and holes which originated from the synergistic effect of the co-doped ions and the heterostructure.
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