Effect of ZnO Nanoparticles Salt Precursors on Structural, Morphological, Optical and MB Photocatalytic Properties Using Hydrothermal Synthesis

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Zinc oxide ZnO nanoparticles were successfully produced via a simple low cost hydrothermal method using different metal precursors. Zinc acetate Zn(CH3COO)2, Zinc nitrate (Zn(NO3)2) and Zinc chloride (ZnCl2) were the source materials. The obtained nanoparticles were investigated by means: X-ray diffraction (XRD), Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) and Differential Reflectance spectroscopy (DRS). The XRD exhibited the high crystallinity of the pure ZnO phase with hexagonal wurtzite crystalline structure for all simples excepted for ZnO synthetized from ZnCl2 precursor. The crystallite sizes were estimated in the range of 20-37 nm. The precursor type does not affect the Eg of the nanoparticles. The bandgaps energies were between 3.21-3.22eV. The type of precursor affect the particles morphology. SEM images reveal different morphologies. The photocatalytic activity of the synthetized ZnO (zinc oxide) ( NPs, in comparison with that of commercial powder for the methylene blue (MB) degradation under Ultra-Violet (UV) irradiation, showed the appropriate activity of nanostructures obtained by Zn(NO3)2 and Zn(CH3COO)2 precursors. The first-order kinetic constant over ZnO from Zn(NO3)2 was 1.9, 3.7 and 1.5 times of ZnO commercial powder, ZnO from ZnCl2 and Zn(CH3COO)2, respectively. The ZnO NPs from Zn(NO3)2 and Zn(CH3COO)2 precursors have the best photocatalytic degradation performance with a degradation rate of 99.3% and 96.4%, respectively. It is found that the higher photocatalytic performance was probably due to the larger crystallinity, purity phase and specific morphologies than smaller particle size effect. A decrement in the crystallite size yields in a larger surface areas and enhances the adsorption of reactants and that paves the way to an enhancement in the photocatalytic performance. Thus, the synthetized ZnO is nanoparticles by the soft hydrothermal process which is a promising candidate for the photocatalytic purposes of dyes from waters