ZnO nanoparticles (NPs) with tunable morphologies were synthesized by a hybrid electrochemical–thermal method at different calcination temperatures without the use of any surfactant or template. The NPs were characterized by Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, dynamic light scattering, thermogravimetry–differential thermal analysis, scanning electron microscope and N2 gas adsorption–desorption studies. The FT-IR spectra of ZnO NPs showed a band at 450 cm−1, a characteristic of ZnO, which remained fairly unchanged at calcination temperatures even above 300 °C, indicating complete conversion of the precursor to ZnO. The products were thermally stable above 300 °C. The ZnO NPs were present in a hexagonal wurtzite phase and the crystallinity of ZnO increased with an increasing calcination temperature. The ZnO NPs calcined at lower temperature were mesoporous in nature. The surface areas of ZnO NPs calcined at 300 and 400 °C were 51.10 and 40.60 m2 g−1, respectively, which are significantly larger than commercial ZnO nanopowder. Surface diffusion has been found to be the key mechanism of sintering during heating from 300 to 700 °C with the activation energy of sintering as 8.33 kJ mol−1. The photocatalytic activity of ZnO NPs calcined at different temperatures evaluated by photocatalytic degradation of methylene blue under sunlight showed strong dependence on the surface area of ZnO NPs. The ZnO NPs with high surface area showed enhanced photocatalytic activity.
Research on Chemical Intermediates – Springer Journals
Published: Nov 19, 2015
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