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Fast and complete degradation of Congo red under visible light with Er3+ and Nd3+ ions doped TiO2 nanocomposites

Author(s): Himanshu Narayan | Hailemichael Alemu | Daniel N. Alotsi | Lebohang Macheli | Madhavi Thakurdesai | Sandesh Jaybhaye | Arvind Singh

Journal: Nanotechnology Development
ISSN 2038-9671

Volume: 2;
Issue: 1;
Start page: e2;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: titanium oxide | rare-earth ions | photocatalytic degradation | recombination.

We report fast and complete destruction of the dye Congo red (CR) under visible light in the presence of Nd3+ and Er3+ doped TiO2 nanocomposites (NCs). TiO2 NCs with general composition TiO2[R2O3]x, {x=0.1, 0.2; R≡ Nd, Er} and particle size 12-16 nm were synthesized through co-precipitation/hydrolysis (CPH). A set of similar composites was also prepared through solid state reaction (SSR) route, which produced 31- 47 nm particles. After characterization, visible light photocatalytic activity of all the samples was recorded for the degradation of CR. NCs with molar concentration x=0.2 of both doping types produced close to 100% degradation in 180 min. The apparent rate constant (kobs) was found to be 2.91×10–2 min–1 and 2.36×10–2 min–1, for these Nd3+ and Er3+ doped NCs, respectively. The other NCs with x=0.1, also showed significant degradation of CR, but the samples prepared through SSR performed worse. The excellent degradation obtained with the NCs may be attributed to their small particle size. Moreover, the doping of Nd3+ and Er3+ ions further supported the photocatalysis through formation of intermediate energy levels within the band gap of TiO2. These new levels not only acted as electron traps for efficient suppression of the undesired e–/h+ recombination, but also facilitated to a certain extent the absorption of visible irradiation.
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