We here demonstrate the synthesis of different nanostructures, including nanoparticles, nanorods, core-shell structures, and compound metal oxide nanostructures all synthesized by a low temperature chemical process. We further investigated their photocatalytic properties for degradation of toxic waste and their photochemical efficiency for water splitting. All the photocatalytic properties as well as the photochemical properties were utilized using sun radiation. The results presented indicate huge potential for the investigated processes with positive impact to energy consumption and benefits for the environment.
We demonstrate that the low temperature synthesis chemical route can be utilized to control the functionality of zinc oxide (ZnO) nanoparticles (NPs) and nanorods (NRs) for optical and magneto-optical performance. Different structural, optical, electro- and magneto-optical results will be displayed and analyzed. In the first part, we show how high quality ZnO NPs can be efficient for photodegradation using ultra-violet radiation. In the second part we will present our recent results on the control of the core defects in cobalt doped ZnO NR. Here and by using electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) measurements, the substitution of Co<sup>2+</sup> ions in the ZnO NRs crystal is shown. The relation between the incorporation and core defects concentration will be discussed. The findings give access to the magnetic anisotropy of ZnO NRs grown by the low temperature chemical route and can lead to demonstrate room temperature ferromagnetism in nanostructures with potential for different device applications.
Zinc oxide (ZnO) in its nanostructure form is a promising material for visible light emission/absorption and utilization in different energy efficient photocatalytic processes. We will first present our recent results on the effect of varying the molar ratio of the synthesis nutrients on visible light emission. Further we will use the optimized conditions from the molar ration experiments to vary the synthesis processing parameters like stirring time etc. and the effect of all these parameters in order to optimize the efficiency and control the emission spectrum are investigated using different complementary techniques. Cathodoluminescence (CL) is combined with photoluminescence (PL) and electroluminescence (EL) as the techniques to investigate and optimizes visible light emission from ZnO/GaN light emitting diodes. We will then show and discuss our recent finding of the use of high quality ZnO nanoparticles (NPs) for efficient photo-degradation of toxic dyes using the visible spectra, namely with a wavelength up to 800 nm. In the end, we show how ZnO nanorods (NRs) are used as the first template to be transferred to bismuth zinc vanadate (BiZn<sub>2</sub>VO<sub>6</sub>). The BiZn<sub>2</sub>VO<sub>6</sub> is then used to demonstrate efficient and cost effective hydrogen production through photoelectrochemical water splitting using solar radiation.