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Decontamination and disinfection of wastewater by photocatalysis under UV/visible light using nano-catalysts based on Ca-doped ZnO

Oliveira, Angélica Gonçalves, Andrade, Jéssica de Lara, Montanha, Maiara Camotti, Lima, Sandro Marcio, Andrade, Luis Humberto da Cunha, Winkler Hechenleitner, Ana Adelina, Pineda, Edgardo Alfonso Gómez, Oliveira, Daniela Martins Fernandes de
Journal of environmental management 2019 v.240 pp. 485-493
Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, anti-infective agents, calcium, coliform bacteria, cytotoxicity, decontamination, disinfection, dyes, fibroblasts, free radicals, gelatin, hospitals, irradiation, methyl orange, models, nanoparticles, oxygen, pH, photocatalysis, photoluminescence, reaction mechanisms, scanning electron microscopy, semiconductors, sol-gel processing, transmission electron microscopy, wastewater, zinc oxide
Nano-catalysts based on ZnO-Ca x% (with x = 0, 0.1, 0.3, 0.5, 0.7, and 1.0 mol % Ca2+) were synthesized with a bio-friendly adaptation of the sol-gel method using gelatin as template. These materials were characterized by Fourier Transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), X-ray diffraction (XRD), Micro-Raman, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), N2 physisorption, photoacoustic absorption spectroscopy (PAS), and photoluminescence spectroscopy (PL). The Raman results indicated that the signal, attributed to an E1(LO) mode at 580 cm−1, was characteristic of oxygen vacancies that decreased with the increased Ca2+ content in doped oxides. This agreed with the PL results, which showed that the green emission centered at 510 nm and attributable to structural defects in ZnO decreased for Ca-doped ZnO. Our oxides are constituted by nanoparticles with rod-like and spherical morphologies. All the nano-catalysts exhibited the band gap characteristics of semiconductor materials around 3.0 eV. ZnO-Ca 1.0% exhibited the best photocatalytic performance for degradation of Methyl Orange (MO) model dye, degrading about 82% after 240 min of UV–Vis irradiation at pH 7.0. The reaction mechanism was influenced by hydroxyl (OH) and superoxide (O2-) radicals and mainly by active holes (h+). This doped oxide also demonstrated efficiency in wastewater disinfection against heterotrophic bacteria and total coliforms, exhibiting a potential use as an antimicrobial agent for the treatment of hospital wastewater. Furthermore, our nanoparticles did not show significant cytotoxic effects on L929 fibroblast cells.