Synthesis of ZnO/ZnFe2O4 nanocomposites in organic-free media and their photocatalytic activity under natural sunlight
Nanocomposite ZnO/ZnFe2O4 photocatalysts with different proportions of ZnFe2O4 were synthesized in organic-free media using metal nitric as precursors. The ZnO phase with hexagonal wurtzite structure and low crystallinity of ZnFe2O4 was confirmed using XRD (X-Ray diffraction). Different morphologies of the nanocomposites were obtained ranging from rice grain-like with a porous surface to homogeneous sphere-like nanoparticles as shown in Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) and TEM Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) studies. Magnetic properties measured by Visible Sampler Magnetometer (VSM) showed diamagnetic and paramagnetic behavior for the nanocomposites. Analysis with Diffuse Reflectance Spectrophotometer (DRS) UV-vis showed an increase the composition of ferrite in composites increasing its ability to absorb visible light. Photocatalytic activities of ZnO/ZnFe2O4 nanocomposites on the degradation of Rhodamine B dye reached 95.6% after 3 h under natural sunlight suggesting their suitability for sunlight driven photocatalytic applications.