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Easy synthesis of Bismuth Iron Oxide Nanoparticles as photocatalyst for solar hydrogen generation from water
Chemical and Materials Engineering
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In this study, high purity bismuth iron oxide (BiFeO3/BFO) nanoparticles of size 50-80 nm have been successfully synthesized by a simple sol-gel method using urea and polyvinyl alcohol at low temperature. X-ray diffraction (XRD) measurement is used to optimize the synthetic process to get highly crystalline and pure phase material. Diffuse reflectance ultraviolet-visible (DRUV-Vis) spectrum indicates that the absorption cut-off wavelength of the nanoparticles is about 620 nm, corresponding to an energy band gap of 2.1 eV. Compared to BaTiO3, BFO has a better degradation of methyl orange under light radiation. Also, photocatalytic tests prove this material to be efficient towards water splitting under simulated solar light to generate hydrogen. The simple synthetic methodology adopted in this paper will be useful in developing low-cost semiconductor materials as effective photocatalysts for hydrogen generation. Photocatalytic tests followed by gas chromatography (GC) analyses show that BiFeO3 generates three times more hydrogen than commercial titania P25 catalyst under the same experimental conditions.