Photocatalytic Hydrogen Generation from Water-methanol MixturesUsing Nanocrystalline ZnFe$_2$O$_4$ under Visible Light Irradiation

Abstract
A spinel crystal structure of ferrite containing zinc(ZnFe$_2$O$_4$) was synthesized by using the polymer complex method.A pure phase ZnFe$_2$O$_4$ was obtained at a relatively lowertemperature of 900 $^circ$C. The as-synthesized nanoparticles areagglomerates of crystals with an average size of $sim$50 nm, asestimated from the X-ray diffraction analysis. The band gap of the$n$-type semiconducting metal oxide, as determined by using anultraviolet-visible diffuse reflectance spectrometer was found to be1.90 eV (653 nm). The photocatalytic activity of ZnFe$_2$O$_4$ wasinvestigated by using the photo-reduction of water under visiblelight ($geq$420 nm), which was found to be much higher than that ofthe well-known TiO$_{2-x}$N$_x$ photocatalyst. This superiorperformance is attributed to the larger surface area, the uniformand well-dispersed deposition of the Pt co-catalyst over thesurface, and the small band gap of the chemically-prepared ferritephotocatalyst.
Keywords: Zinc ferrites, Nano-particles, Polymerized complex method, Visible light

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