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Enhanced ferro-photocatalytic performance for ANbO3 (A = Na, K) nanoparticles

1 School of Material Science and Engineering, University of Jinan, Jinan 250022, China
2 State Key Laboratory of Information Photonics and Optical Communications & School of Science Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications Beijing 100876, P. R. China

Special Issues: Theoretical researches in materials and condensed matter physics

In this study, NaNbO3 with average grain size of ~50 nm and KNbO3 with average grain size of ~300 nm nanocrystals are prepared by the water-based citrate precursor sol-gel process. However, the KNbO3 sample exhibits better photocatalytic performance than that of the NaNbO3 sample by Rh B degradation experiment. By Rietveld refinements and piezoelectric displacement measurements, the KNbO3 with the space group of Bmm2 is ferroelectric while the NaNbO3 with the space group of Pbma is antiferroelectric. The polarization-modulated built-in electric fields in the ferroelectric KNbO3 nanoparticles can efficiently enhance the separation of photo-generated charge carries and thus improve the photocatalytic activity. However, there is no internal electric field in the antiferroelectric grain because of the antiparallel spontaneous polarization in the adjacent unit cell. Therefore, KNbO3 exhibits better oxidizing ability of organic dyes than NaNbO3. The ferroelectric KNbO3 nanoparticles exhibit an optimum photocatalytic performance for a complete degradation of Rh B in 100 min under UV-Vis light irradiation with auxiliary ultrasonic excitation. This study demonstrates that the perovskite-type ferroelectric nanocrystals are potentially to design high-performance catalysts for degradation of contaminant.
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