Colloidal synthesis of photocatalysts with potential to overcome the drawback of low photocatalytic efficiency brought by charge recombination and narrow photo-response has been a challenge. Herein, a general and facile colloidal approach to synthesize orthorhombic phase Bi2
particles with rod and flower-like morphology is reported. We elucidate the formation and growth process mechanisms of these synthesized nanocrystals in detail and cooperate these Bi2
particles with metallic gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) to construct heterostructured photocatalysts. The unique properties of AuNPs featuring tunable surface plasmon resonance and large field enhancement are used to sensitize the photocatalytic activity of the Bi2
semiconductor particles. The morphology, structure, elemental composition, and light absorption ability of the prepared catalysts are characterized by (high-resolution) transmission electron microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction spectroscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, and UV–vis absorption spectroscopy. The catalysts exhibit high and stable photocatalytic activity for the degradation of organic pollutants demonstrated using rhodamine B and methyl orange dyes under solar light irradiation. We show that the incorporation of the AuNPs with the Bi2
particles increases the photocatalytic activity 1.2 to 3-fold. Radical trapping analysis indicates that the production of hydroxyl and superoxide radicals are the dominant active species responsible for the photodegradation activity. The photocatalysts exhibit good stability and recyclability.
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