This paper describes the development of ZnO nanoparticles by a chemical method, to test them in the photocatalysis of the degradation of textile dyes, using Rhodamine B (RhB) as a probe reaction. The samples were submitted to different heat treatments in order to observe the annealing effects on the photocatalytical properties, surface decontamination and the consequent particle change, in terms of crystallinity. The as-prepared samples (ZOA) correspond to a metastable phase (oxy or hydroxy zinc acetate) and post annealing leads to ZnO crystallization. In spite of the XRD patterns showing only the ZnO phase for heat treatment at 100 °C, FTIR data show that carboxylate groups remains attached to the ZnO surface up to 300 °C. Up to 300 °C the presence of these carboxylate groups, provided by the synthesis method, showed to be more relevant to photoactivity than the specific surface area. At higher temperatures, crystallinity becomes the dominant factor and an increasing of crystallinity favors the photoactivity.
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