A cost-effective solution method was developed to produce ZnO photocatalyst in large quantity, through the conversion of ε-Zn(OH)2 to ZnO in NaOH solutions. Experimental results indicated that the concentrated NaOH solution (4 mol L−1) promoted the rapid formation of ZnO owing to the enhanced dissolution-precipitation reactions. The large-scale synthesis was also achieved with high-yield and solvent-recyclability. Structural analysis based on X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, electron spin resonance and photoluminescence revealed that the as-prepared ZnO photocatalyst was rich in oxygen vacancies (VO). The VO-rich ZnO photocatalyst exhibited improved visible-light absorption, higher photocurrent responses and superior activities toward the degradation of rhodamine B under both UV (λ~254 nm) and visible-light illumination (λ>420 nm) compared to commercial ZnO and P25 TiO2 powders, as well as good cycle stability. Based on the results of photoluminescence and active species detection, the VO-enhanced photocatalytic activity was attributed to the generation of VO-isolated level in the band structure. Under UV light, the VO-level could promote charge separation by trapping the photoinduced electrons, while under visible-light, the VO-level improved visible-light absorption and facilitated the charge generation. The presently developed synthesis may potentially benefit the large-scale production and low-cost application of ZnO photocatalyst for solar energy utilization.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Ceramics and Composites
- Process Chemistry and Technology
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films
- Materials Chemistry