Morphological effects on the photocatalytic properties of SnO
The photocatalytic properties of SnO2 nanocrystals are tuned by varying their morphology and microstructure. SnO2 nanoparticles and nanowedges have been synthesised using hydrothermal methods, while microwave irradiation techniques have given nanospheres. Detailed structural and chemical characterization of these different morphologies has been accomplished. The influence of SnO2 morphology on photocatalytic activity has been examined by monitoring the degradation of aqueous methylene blue dye. Results demonstrate that changing the morphology of the SnO2 modulates both surface area and levels of surface defects and that these alterations are reflected in the photocatalytic properties of the materials. The degradation of methylene blue dye (98%) in the presence of SnO2 nanoparticles under simulated solar irradiation is superior to previously reported photocatalyst performance and is comparable to that of standard TiO2 (Degussa P-25). The SnO2 nanoparticles perform better than both the nanowedges and nanospheres and this is attributed to the number of surface defects available to the high surface area material. They also reveal outstanding recyclability and stability.