- Nano Express
- Open Access
One-step electrospinning route of SrTiO3-modified Rutile TiO2nanofibers and its photocatalytic properties
© The Author(s). 2017
Received: 13 April 2017
Accepted: 8 May 2017
Published: 25 May 2017
The SrTiO3 modified rutile TiO2 composite nanofibers were synthesized by a simple electrospinning technique. The result of XRD, SEM and TEM indicate that the SrTiO3/TiO2 heterojuction has been prepared successfully. Compared with the TiO2 and SrTiO3, the photocatalytic activity of the SrTiO3/TiO2 (rutile) for the degradation of methyl orange exhibits an obvious enhancement under UV illumination. which is almost 2 times than that of bare TiO2 (rutile) nanofiber. Further, the high crystallinity and photon-generated carrier separation of the SrTiO3/TiO2 heterojuction are considered as the main reason for this enhancement.
As a prototypical semiconductor with environment friendly and high photoelectric property, Titanium oxide (TiO2) is widely used in optics, solar cells, sensors etc. [1–4], and also considered as a most promising photocatalyst in wastewater treatments , due to its low cost, highly physical-chemical stability and nontoxicity. As previous literature reported, though the anatase TiO2 exhibit better photocatalysis than the Rutile TiO2, but the band gap of anatase TiO2 (3.2 eV) is wider than the rutile TiO2 (3.0 eV), which may restrict the luminous energy utilization ratio in photocatalytic application. What’s more, compare with the metastable anatase TiO2, the rutile TiO2 exhibit more highly physical-chemical stability, which is beneficial for cyclic utilization in pollution treatment. With these unique advantages, how to improve the photocatalytic efficiency of the rutile TiO2 would be a significant issue. As known, the photocatalysis mainly depend on specific surface area or mobility and lifetime of photon-generated carriers, so lots of work have been reported. For specific surface area, lots of excellent morphology have been prepared, such as nanosheets , nanobelts , nanorods , nanofibers , and microflowers , all of them shows a inspiring results [11–14]. On the other hand, the surface noble metal modified or preparation of heterostructure are considered as useful ways to adjust the band structure for improving the mobility and lifetime of photon-generated carriers. However, compared with the high cost of the noble metal modified, the heterostructure is deemed as a efficient-low cost way. Lots of relevant researches have been reported, such as ZnO/TiO2 [15–17], CdS/ZnO [18–20], CeO2/graphene etc . Among those semiconductors, the strontium titanate (SrTiO3) has catched researchers attention due to the thermal stability and resistance to photocorrosion , and has been extensively applied in H2 generation , removal of NO , water splitting , and photocatalyst decomposition of dye [26–28]. In particular, as heterostructures composite photocatalyst attracted more attention, such as, Core-shell SrTiO3/TiO2 and heterostructures SrTiO3/TiO2 had showed much higher photocatalytic activity than the pure TiO2, which is attributed to heterostructures promote the separation of photogenerated carriers [29, 30]. So the SrTiO3 is considered as a good candidate for coupling with the anatase phase of TiO2 for adjusting the band structure to enhance its photocatalytic activity. However, there are rare reports about the SrTiO3-modified rutile TiO2 composites nanofibers for the degradation of dye pollutants because of the cumbersome process, so how to simplify the preparation of SrTiO3/TiO2 nano-heterojunction would be an important issue for its practical application. As known, the electrospining is a convenient and efficient method to prepared nanomaterials, which could easily prepare the precursor into nanofibers at the prelusion and then form to series of nanostructure in subsequent annealing, which has been reported in lots literatures [31–36].
In the present study, we report on a simple one-step synthesis of SrTiO3 modified rutile TiO2 nano-heterojunction with high photocatalysis via the electrospinning. Then the mechanism of the photocatalytic enhancement of the heterojuction has been studied.
Analytical grade acetic acid, N,N-Dimethylformamide (DMF, Aladdin, 99.5%), Tetra butyl titanate (TBT, Aladdin, 99.0%), Strontium acetate (Aladdin, 99.97%), Polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP, MW = 1,300,000) were obtained from Shanghai Macklin Biochemical Co. Ltd.
Preparation of SrTiO3/TiO2 (rutile) Composite Nanofiber
The surface morphology of the as-prepared samples was investigated by the Field-emission scanning electron microscope (FESEM, Hitachi S-4800) equipped with Energy- dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS), and the microstructure of the as-prepared samples was observed by a transmission electron microscope (TEM, JEM-2100, 200 kV); Crystal structures of the as-prepared samples were characterized by Bruker/D8-advance with Cu Kα radiation (λ = 1.518 Å) at the scanning rate of 0.2 sec/step in the range of 10-80°. The absorption spectrum of the as-prepared samples were recorded using by a UV–visibles pectrophotometer (U-3900Hitachi).
Measurement of photocatalytic activity
A 50 mL methyl orange (MO) solution with an initial concentration of 15 mg/L in the presence of sample(30 mg) was filled in a quartz reactor. The light source was provided by a UV − C mercury lamp (Philips Holland, 25 W). Prior to irradiation, the solution was continuously kept in dark for 30 min to reach an adsorption–desorption equilibrium between organic substrates and the photocatalysts. At given intervals (t = 10 min) of irradiation, the samples of the reaction solution were taken out and analyzed. The concentrations of the remnant dye were measured with a spectrophotometer at λ = 464 nm.
Results and discussion
The selected area electron diffraction (SAED) as shown in Fig. 4c, which indicates that the nano-heterojuction owns a high crystallinity. The FESEM EDX in Fig. 4d futher confirms that ST-3 heteroarchitectures contain the Ti, Sr, O elements and corresponds to the XRD.
In order to be convenient for long-term photocatalytic use in the treatment of dye wastewater, the cycling stability is one of the most important factor, and was shown in Fig. 5c. As shown in Fig. 5c, after 5 cycles, there is negligible loss of MO photodegradation, which could be ascribed to the lost of photocatalyst in centrifugal process and further illustrate that the ST-3 composite photocatalysts possess highly stability and cyclicity.
Therefore, the SrTiO3/TiO2 (rutile) composite nanofibers could be considered as an economical and continuable photocatalyst in future application.
In summary, we have prepared the SrTiO3/TiO2 (rutile) composite nanofibers via a simple route of electrospinning and displayed its excellent ability to degrade methyl orange, which could be mainly ascribed to the remarkable heterojuction and the high crystallinity. What’s more, the novel 3D structure could increase the specific surface area efficiently, which is also an important reason for the photocatalysis. Thus excellent photocatalyst could afford a new sight for design of the future catalyst.
This work was supported by Zhejiang Provincial Natural Science Foundation of China (No. LY17E020001, LQ17F040004 and LY15E030011), Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 51672249, 51603187 and 91122022), Taizhou science and technology project of China (1601KY73).
WJZ performed the all sample preparation steps and drafted the manuscript. JZ participated in the design of the study. JQP carried out the analysis. JFQ and JTN participated in the measurements. CRL supervised the entire research and polished the manuscript. All the authors have read and approved the final manuscript.
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
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