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Soil-Plant Interaction Team makes breakthrough in application of quantum dot photocatalytic materials

By IAPPR | Updated: 2022-03-11

Recently, the Soil-Plant Interaction Innovation Team of the Institute of Agricultural Resources and Regional Planning (IARRP) of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) worked with the local university to expand new semiconductor quantum dot materials and make another breakthrough in reducing antibiotic contaminants based on their previous work.

The results of the work were published in the Journal of Environmental Chemical Engineering, titled with "Mo-modified band structure and enhanced photocatalytic properties of tin oxide quantum dots for visible-light driven degradation of antibiotic contaminants".

According to Professor Zhang Qianru, the efficient degradation of antibiotics as emerging organic contaminants is a hot and difficult issue that has plagued the field of environmental science and engineering. Visible-light driven photocatalysis technology is a sustainable, green, low-toxic/non-toxic contaminants treatment method with broad development prospects. Functional nanomaterials play a crucial role in the realization of this technology. Although there have been some applications, they still face great challenges in material synthesis strategies and performance control.

In this study, SnO2 (tin dioxide) quantum dots have visible-light driven photocatalytic performance through Mo (molybdenum) modification, which can remove antibiotics. For example, tetracycline hydrochloride was used as the target pollutant to evaluate the photocatalytic performance of SnO2 quantum dots. The degradation efficiency of the antibiotic was up to 96.5% when the concentration of tetracycline hydrochloride was 25 mg/L and the rate constant was 0.033 min−1.

The principle is mainly photogenerated holes, by which highly active hydroxyl radicals (·OH) were produced from the oxidation of water, have strong oxidizing ability for photocatalytic degradation.

In conclusion, the present work provides new insights for green synthesis strategy and mechanism of SnO2 quantum dots, and as an efficient visible-light driven photocatalyst for environmental remediation.

The study was jointly supported by the Science and Technology Innovation Project of CAAS and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities.

Paper link: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jece.2021.107091