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High-performance photocatalyst based on nanosized ZnO-reduced graphene oxide hybrid for removal of Rhodamine B under visible light irradiation

1 Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843, USA
2 Polymer Technology Center, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843, USA
3 Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843, USA
4 Kaneka US Material Research Center, College Station, TX 77843, USA

Topical Section: 2D Materials

Nano-sized zinc oxide-reduced graphene oxide (ZnO-RGO) hybrid containing well-dispersed ZnO nanoparticles with an average diameter of 4.5 ± 0.5 nm has been successfully prepared via a one-step sol-gel method. FTIR characterization reveals that GO underwent deoxygenation during the preparation of ZnO nanoparticle. The introduction of RGO in the ZnO-RGO hybrid significantly improved the photocatalytic efficiency of ZnO in the degradation of Rhodamine B under visible light irradiation. The apparent reaction constant of ZnO-RGO is 8 times higher than that of pure ZnO, and the photocatalytic efficiency of ZnO-RGO remains high even after 4 consecutive reactions. Results from the X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, Brunauer-Emmett-Teller surface area measurements, and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy analysis suggest that the enhancement in the photocatalytic activity of the ZnO-RGO hybrid comes from (1) the enormous surface area provided by the nano-sized ZnO particles, (2) significant dye adsorption from RGO template, and (3) excellent electron reception and conduction of RGO. The attractive properties of ZnO-RGO make it a promising candidate material in addressing the environmental pollution issues we have to face today.
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Keywords reduced graphene oxide; ZnO; sol-gel; photocatalysis; adsorption

Citation: Haiqing Yao, Fei Li, Jodie Lutkenhaus, Masaya Kotaki, Hung-Jue Sue. High-performance photocatalyst based on nanosized ZnO-reduced graphene oxide hybrid for removal of Rhodamine B under visible light irradiation. AIMS Materials Science, 2016, 3(4): 1410-1425. doi: 10.3934/matersci.2016.4.1410

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