Efficient, recyclable, and affordable daylight induced Cu/Cu2O/CuI photocatalyst via an inexpensive iodine sublimation process

Periyayya Uthirakumar, M. Devendiran, Andrej Yu Kuznetsov, Gyu Cheol Kim, In Hwan Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The invention of an efficient, recyclable, and affordable daylight induced photocatalyst is highly desirable, for example to enhance the sustainability in industrial sectors requiring wastewater treatments. In the present paper, a facile and inexpensive iodine sublimation process was developed to prepare freestanding and flexible Cu/Cu2O/CuI sheets to use as daylight photocatalysts capable to degrade toxic pollutants continuously without creating secondary pollution issues. The structural, chemical, and electronic properties of the Cu/Cu2O/CuI nanostructures were systematically investigated. In particular, intriguing hierarchical structures were observed in form of the 20–30 nm CuI nanoparticles self-assembled into the ∼400–500 nm sized CuI nanoclusters. Indeed, ∼92% of the Rhodamine B – often referred as RhB - dye degradation was readily achieved, and the efficiency was controlled simply by adjusting the number of sheets used. Importantly, in contrast with the conventional nanoparticle photocatalysts, the free-standing and flexible Cu/Cu2O/CuI sheets demonstrated excellent recyclability and versatility of handling. Moreover, potential mechanisms for suppressing the recombination of the photogenerated carriers were discussed. As a result, combining the fundamental data and the practically achieved results, the freestanding and flexible Cu/Cu2O/CuI nanostructures are suitable candidates for an industrial upscaling as daylight activated photocatalysts for the wastewater treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number147007
JournalApplied Surface Science
Volume537
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Jan 30

Keywords

  • Cu/CuO/CuI
  • Daylight photocatalyst
  • Flexible substrates
  • Nanocrystalline materials
  • Rhodamine dye
  • Sublimation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films

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