Acta Phys. -Chim. Sin. ›› 2014, Vol. 30 ›› Issue (4): 761-767.doi: 10.3866/PKU.WHXB201402132

• PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY OF MATERIALS • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Photocatalytic Degradation of Gas-Phase Toluene over CuO Loaded BiVO4 Hollow Nanospheres under Visible-light Irradiation

ZHAO Wei-Rong, ZENG Wan-Yun, XI Hai-Ping, YU Xian-Xian   

  1. Department of Environmental Engineering, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310058, P. R. China
  • Received:2013-12-17 Revised:2014-02-07 Published:2014-03-31
  • Contact: ZHAO Wei-Rong
  • Supported by:

    The project was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (51178412, 51278456) and National Key Technologies R&D Program (2013BAC16B01).


The sol-gel method was used for the synthesis of BiVO4 hollow nanospheres by employing carbon spheres as a hard template. CuO loaded composite photocatalysts were prepared by impregnation. The catalysts were characterized by X-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM), Brunauer-Emmett-Teller (BET), Tafel polarization curves (Tafel), linear sweep voltammetry (LSV), monochromatic incident photon to current conversion efficiency (IPCE), and UV-Vis diffuse reflectance spectroscopy (UV-Vis-DRS). We found that the BET surface area of the BiVO4 hollow nanospheres (10.24 m2·g-1) was 5.20 times that of the amorphous form of BiVO4 (1.97 m2·g-1). A p-n heterojunction was formed between CuO and BiVO4. Samples with 5% CuO exhibited optimal photoelectrochemical performance. They had a higher corrosion current density (12.33 times as much as that of the BiVO4 hollow nanospheres), and a smaller band gap (2.30 eV). Toluene was chosen as a model pollutant to evaluate the removal capacity and the CO2 mineralization rate of volatile organic compounds under visible light. The samples doped with 5% CuO exhibited optimal visible-light photocatalytic activity, with an 85.0% toluene degradation efficiency and a 12.0% mineralization rate in 6 h.

Key words: Sol-gel method, Heterojunction, Electrochemistry, Volatile organic compound, Photon to current conversion efficiency