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TiO2 and SnO2 Magnetic Nanocomposites: Influence of Semiconductors and Synthetic Methods on Photoactivity

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A number of reports have been published on use of TiO2 in thin films, magnetic nanocomposites, or heterostructures such as TiO2/Ag and TiO2/SnO2, as catalysts for water decontamination. Hence, semiconductor materials such as SnO2, associated with TiO2 in such nanocomposites, should be assessed in depth for such applications, especially those involving complex structures, such as magnetic photocatalytic nanocomposites. The present study describes the synthesis, characterization and testing of the photocatalytic potential of TiO2 or SnO2 magnetic nanocomposites obtained by the polymeric precursor and the hydrolytic sol–gel methods. The nanocomposites TiO2/CoFe2O4 and SnO2/CoFe2O4 were synthesized from polymeric precursors while TiO2/Fe3O4 and SnO2/Fe3O4 were synthesized by the hydrolytic sol–gel method. The materials were characterized by X-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy (FEG/SEM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). The photocatalytic potentials were evaluated by rhodamine B dye photodegradation under UV-C radiation. Compared to SnO2, the nanocomposites with a coating of TiO2 were found to show better photocatalytic activity, but the SnO2 magnetic nanocomposites showed some photocatalytic activity, even though SnO2 is reported to be inactive for these purposes. As for the synthesis method, the nanocomposites obtained from polymeric precursors had smaller surface areas, but higher photocatalytic activity, than those obtained by the hydrolytic sol–gel method. This observation was attributed to the higher crystallinity and a more active surface resulting from calcination of the polymeric precursor material.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 September 2011

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  • Journal for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (JNN) is an international and multidisciplinary peer-reviewed journal with a wide-ranging coverage, consolidating research activities in all areas of nanoscience and nanotechnology into a single and unique reference source. JNN is the first cross-disciplinary journal to publish original full research articles, rapid communications of important new scientific and technological findings, timely state-of-the-art reviews with author's photo and short biography, and current research news encompassing the fundamental and applied research in all disciplines of science, engineering and medicine.
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