This novel Ag/Ag3PO4 nanostructure-sensitized BiPO4 (Ag/Ag3PO4/BiPO4) photocatalyst was synthesized using hydrothermal and impregnation processes. Powder X-ray diffraction, UV-Vis diffuse reflectance spectroscopy, Raman spectroscopy, IR spectroscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, transmission electron microscopy, and scanning electron microscopy were used to characterize the as-prepared products. The optical properties and morphology of BiPO4 exhibited drastic changes and were dependent on the AgNO3 concentration. Regarding methylene blue (MB), rhodamine B, and methyl orange degradation under solar irradiation (95% degradation within 5 min), 15% Ag/Ag3PO4/BiPO4 exhibited considerably higher photocatalytic activity than BiPO4 and P25. After five cycles, Ag/Ag3PO4/BiPO4 exhibited no apparent loss of activity, confirming its stability despite recycling. The practicality of this Ag/Ag3PO4/BiPO4 was validated according to its ability to degrade MB in seawater, pond water, and industrial wastewater samples, which also demonstrated the advantages of its high photocatalytic activity. Moreover, 15% Ag/Ag3PO4/BiPO4 also showed sunlight-induced photocatalytic disinfection activity toward E. coli cells. The enhanced photocatalytic activity and improved stability of Ag/Ag3PO4/BiPO4 could be attributed to the strong visible light absorption by Ag/Ag3PO4 nanostructures, a low electron-hole recombination rate, and the highly efficient separation of photogenerated electron-hole pairs throughout Ag3PO4/BiPO4 heterostructures. Moreover, holes were the main reactive species.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Chemical Engineering(all)