Malaysian Journal of Chemistry, 2017, Vol. 19(1), 24–32

Improved Photocatalytic Performance of ZnO through AgCu Bimetal Coupling for the Photodegradation of Nitrobenzene

Hauwa Sidi Aliyu1, Abdul Halim Abdullah1,2* and Zulkifly Abbas3
1Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, Universiti Putra Malaysia, 43400 Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia
2Materials Synthesis and Characterization Laboratory, Institute of Advanced Technology Universiti Putra Malaysia, 43400 Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia
3Department of Physics, Faculty of Science, Universiti Putra Malaysia, 43400 Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia

*Corresponding author (e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

 Received: September 2016; Accepted: May 2017


A ZnO semiconductor with bimetals (Ag and Cu) coupled in the matrix was successfully prepared using a microwave irradiation technique under a very low synthetic temperature and power of 120ºC and 240 W, respectively. The phase, structural, morphological, and elemental compositions of the synthesized AgCu-ZnO photocatalyst were investigated using transmission electron microscopy, field emission scanning electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction and energy dispersed X-ray and X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy. The band gap energy of the photocatalyst was estimated from the absorption data obtained in UV-Vis spectroscopic analysis. The photodegradation efficiency of the AgCu-ZnO photocatalyst immobilised on a glass plate was evaluated using nitrobenzene (NB) as the model organic pollutant. The immobilized AgCu/ZnO photocatalyst effectively degraded 99% of 20 ppm NB at an optimum catalyst loading of 0.75 g after 2 h of visible light irradiation. 

Key words: Photodegradation; AgCu/ZnO photocatalyst; immobilization; nitrobenzene


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