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Visible Light Induced Photocatalytic Activity of ZnCo_2O_4 Nanoparticles

CUI Bai~1 LIN Hong~(2,*) ZHAO Xiao-Chong~2 LI Jian-Bao~2 LI Wen-Di~3 (1 Department of Materials,Imperial College London,South Kensington Campus,London SW7 2AZ,UK; 2 State Key Laboratory of New Ceramics and Fine Processing,Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Tsinghua University,Beijing 100084,P.R.China;3 Department of Material Physics and Chemistry,School of Materials Science and Engineering,University of Science & Technology Beijing,Beijing 100083,P.R.China)  
ZnCo_2O_4 nanoparticles were synthesized by a co-precipitation decomposition method and their optical and photocatalytic properties were investigated.Their crystal structure and microstructures were characterized using X-ray diffraction(XRD),thermogravimetry(TG)/differential scanning calorimetry (DSC),transmission electron microscopy(TEM),and high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM).The ZnCo_2O_4 nanocrystallites obtained were single-phase with an average size of 10-20 nm. The optical bandgap energies of the nanoparticles were estimated to be 3.39 and 2.09 eV from the UV-Vis absorption spectrum.The ZnCo_2O_4 nanoparticles exhibited high photocatalytic activity for the degradation of methylene blue dye solution under visible light irradiation(λ420 nm).The photocatalytic activity of the ZnCo_2O_4 nanoparticles is attributed to their ability to absorb bandgap photons under UV and visible light as well as their nanoscale particle size.Based on these experimental results,a possible band structure of ZnCo_2O_4 is proposed.
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