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A Comparative Study of Gold Impregnation Methods for Obtaining Metal/Semiconductor Nanophotocatalysts: Direct Turkevich, Inverse Turkevich, and Progressive Heating Methods

1
Facultad de Ingeniería Química, Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla, C.P. 72570 Puebla, Pue., Mexico
2
Centro de Investigaciones en Materiales y Metalurgia, Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Hidalgo, Carretera Pachuca Tulancingo Km 4.5, C.P. 42184 Pachuca, Hidalgo, Mexico
3
Departamento de Física, CUCEI, Universidad de Guadalajara, Blvd. M. García Barragán #1421, C.P. 44430 Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico
4
Centro Universitario de Vinculación y Transferencia de Tecnología, Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla, C.P. 72570 Puebla, Pue., Mexico
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Catalysts 2018, 8(4), 161; https://doi.org/10.3390/catal8040161
Received: 21 March 2018 / Revised: 16 April 2018 / Accepted: 16 April 2018 / Published: 18 April 2018
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Abstract

ZnO nanostructures decorated with gold nanoparticles (Au-NPs) were synthesized by thermal decomposition of ZnO2 powders and their subsequent impregnation of metal nanoparticles using either the Direct Turkevich Method, the Inverse Turkevich Method, or the Progressive Heating Method. It was found that the impregnation approach influences the resulting microstructure and photocatalytic activity of the obtained materials. While the Direct Turkevich approach gave the highest yield of metal loading, the smallest Au-NPs were obtained by Inverse Turkevich and the Progressive Heating Method. The photocatalytic activity of the pristine support and gold-loaded samples was studied in the decolorization of Rhodamine B solutions using UV- and pure visible-light illumination. All Au-NPs/ZnO samples showed higher photocatalytic activity than the bare support when UV-light was used. This effect is attributed to a charge carrier separation due to electron transfer from ZnO to the metal nanoparticles and the built-in electric field at the interfaces. Contrarily to most reports, visible-light sensitization using plasmonic nanoparticles was not observed. The experimental evidence points against hot-electron injection from Au-NPs to the semiconductor component. This behavior is associated with the height of the Schottky barrier at the metal-semiconductor junctions. The differences in the photocatalytic performance among the samples under UV- and visible-light are explained in terms of the characteristics of the Au-NPs driven by the growth mechanism involved in each impregnation method and the physicochemical properties of the generated interfaces. View Full-Text
Keywords: photocatalysis; nanocomposites; metal-semiconductor interface; impregnation method; gold nanoparticles photocatalysis; nanocomposites; metal-semiconductor interface; impregnation method; gold nanoparticles
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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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Matamoros-Ambrocio, M.; Ruiz-Peralta, M.D.L.; Chigo-Anota, E.; García-Serrano, J.; Pérez-Centeno, A.; Sánchez-Cantú, M.; Rubio-Rosas, E.; Escobedo-Morales, A. A Comparative Study of Gold Impregnation Methods for Obtaining Metal/Semiconductor Nanophotocatalysts: Direct Turkevich, Inverse Turkevich, and Progressive Heating Methods. Catalysts 2018, 8, 161.

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