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Design of nanoscaled heterojunctions in precursor-derived t-ZrO2/SiOC(N) nanocomposites: Transgressing the boundaries of catalytic activity from UV to visible light
Shakthipriya Bhaskar, Awin E.W., Kumar K.C.H., Lale A., Bernard S.,
Published in
2020
Volume: 10
   
Issue: 1
Abstract
In this work, nanocomposites made of nanosized zirconia crystallized in situ in an amorphous silicon oxycarbo(nitride) (SiOC(N)) matrix have been designed through a precursor route for visible light photocatalytic applications. The relative volume fraction of the starting precursors and the pyrolysis temperatures not only influences the phase fraction of zirconia crystallites but also stabilizes the tetragonal crystal structure of zirconia (t-ZrO2) at room temperature. The presence of carbon in interstitial sites of zirconia and oxygen vacancy defects led to drastic reduction in the band gap (2.2 eV) of the nanocomposite. Apart from being a perfect host avoiding sintering of the active phase and providing mechanical stability, the amorphous matrix also reduces the recombination rate by forming heterojunctions with t-ZrO2. The reduction in band gap as well as the formation of heterojunctions aids in harnessing the visible light for photocatalytic activity. © 2020, The Author(s).
About the journal
JournalScientific Reports
Open AccessNo