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Open AccessArticle

Enhanced Visible Light Photodegradation of Microplastic Fragments with Plasmonic Platinum/Zinc Oxide Nanorod Photocatalysts

1
Department of Sustainable Development, Environmental Science and Engineering (SEED), School of Architecture and Built Environment, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 100 44 Stockholm, Sweden
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Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE), Islamic University of Technology, Gazipur 1704, Dhaka, Bangladesh
3
Functional Materials, Department of Applied Physics, School of Engineering Sciences, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 164 40 Kista, Stockholm, Sweden
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Catalysts 2019, 9(10), 819; https://doi.org/10.3390/catal9100819
Received: 14 September 2019 / Revised: 23 September 2019 / Accepted: 26 September 2019 / Published: 28 September 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Photocatalysis: Activity of Nanomaterials)
Microplastics are persistent anthropogenic pollutants which have become a global concern owing to their widespread existence and unfamiliar threats to the environment and living organisms. This study demonstrates the degradation of fragmented microplastics particularly low-density polyethylene (LDPE) film in water, through visible light-induced plasmonic photocatalysts comprising of platinum nanoparticles deposited on zinc oxide (ZnO) nanorods (ZnO-Pt). The ZnO-Pt nanocomposite photocatalysts were observed to have better degradation kinetics for a model organic dye (methylene blue) compared to bare ZnO nanorods, attributed to the plasmonic effects leading to better interfacial exciton separation and improved hydroxyl radical activity along with a 78% increase in visible light absorption. These demonstrations of the plasmonically enhanced photocatalyst enabled it to effectively degrade microplastic fragments as confirmed following the changes in carbonyl and vinyl indices in infrared absorption. In addition, visual proof of physical surface damage of the LDPE film establishes the efficacy of using plasmonically enhanced nanocomposite photocatalytic materials to tackle the microplastic menace using just sunlight for a clean and green approach towards mitigation of microplastics in the ecosystem. View Full-Text
Keywords: microplastics; visible light photodegradation; ZnO nanorod; platinum nanoparticle; nanocomposite; LDPE film microplastics; visible light photodegradation; ZnO nanorod; platinum nanoparticle; nanocomposite; LDPE film
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MDPI and ACS Style

Tofa, T.S.; Ye, F.; Kunjali, K.L.; Dutta, J. Enhanced Visible Light Photodegradation of Microplastic Fragments with Plasmonic Platinum/Zinc Oxide Nanorod Photocatalysts. Catalysts 2019, 9, 819.

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