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Facile synthesis of carbon nanotubes covalently modified with ZnO nanorods for enhanced photodecomposition of dyes

Tie, Weiwei, Zheng, Zhao, Xu, Chao, Zheng, Zhi, Bhattacharyya, Surjya Sarathi, He, Weiwei, Lee, Seung Hee
Journal of colloid and interface science 2019 v.537 pp. 652-660
Raman spectroscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, absorption, carbon nanotubes, chemical bonding, dyes, electric current, electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy, ions, microstructure, nanohybrids, nanorods, photocatalysis, photolysis, rhodamines, scanning electron microscopy, superoxide anion, zinc, zinc oxide
Utilizing a one-pot solvothermal procedure novel one-dimensional zinc oxide–carbon nanotube nanohybrids (ZnCT) were synthesized in alcohol-alkali solution, free of catalytic assistance. The ZnCT hybrids were prepared through covalent modification of zinc oxide nanorods (ZnO NRs) with functionalized carbon nanotubes (f-CNTs). The morphology and microstructure of as-prepared ZnCT hybrids were characterized by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), powder X-ray diffraction, Raman, X-ray photoelectron and UV–vis absorption spectroscopies. SEM images of the ZnCT hybrids indicated that the ZnOethanol NRs grew longer along the vertical radial (0 0 0 1) surface and aggregated to a lesser extent than the analogous ZnOmethanol NRs. Photodegradation analysis showed that the off-white ZnCTethanol hybrid with ascendant UV–visible light absorption had displayed superior photocatalytic activity towards Rhodamine B (RhB) dyes than either pure ZnOethanol, ZnOmethanol NRs or ZnCTmethanol hybrid, among which the photocatalytic activity of ZnOethanol NRs was better than that of ZnOmethanol NRs. Raman and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy analyses confirmed a strong interaction between f-CNTs and ZnOethanol NRs in ZnCTethanol hybrid, in which Zn ions were chemically bonded to negatively charged oxygen-containing groups at the graphene-like surface of f-CNTs. The enhanced separation lifetime of the photogenerated electron-hole observed by surface photovoltage and photocurrent measurements of the ZnCTethanol hybrid was attributed to the efficient covalent linking of ZnOC and close contact configuration between the f-CNTs and ZnOethanol NRs. Further controlled photodegradation and electron spin resonance (ESR) analyses revealed that the photodegradation of RhB dyes resulted from photogenerated holes, and radical species, such as O2−, OH−, which were formed in-situ. Details of the photocatalytic mechanism were also explored herein.