Zirconium ferrite incorporated zeolitic imidazolate framework-8: a suitable photocatalyst for degradation of dopamine and sulfamethoxazole in aqueous solution.
The complete removal of pharmaceutical wastes from polluted water systems is a global challenge. Therefore, this study incorporates zirconium ferrite (ZrFe2O4) into zeolitic imidazolate framework-8 (ZIF-8) to form ZrFe2O4@ZIF-8. The ZrFe2O4@ZIF-8 is a photocatalyst for removing dopamine (DOP) and sulfamethoxazole (SMX) from an aqueous solution. The scanning electron micrograph revealed the surfaces of ZrFe2O4 and ZrFe2O4@ZIF-8 to be heterogeneous with irregularly shaped and sized particles. The transmission electron micrograph (TEM) images of ZrFe2O4 and ZrFe2O4@ZIF-8 showed an average particle size of 24.32 nm and 32.41 nm, respectively, with a bandgap of 2.10 eV (ZrFe2O4@ZIF-8) and 2.05 eV (ZrFe2O4). ZrFe2O4@ZIF-8 exhibited a better degradation capacity towards DOP and SMX than ZrFe2O4. ZrFe2O4@ZIF-8 expressed a complete (100%) degradation of DOP and SMX during the photodegradation process. Interestingly, the process involved both adsorption and photocatalytic degradation simultaneously. ZrFe2O4@ZIF-8 demonstrated high stability with a consistent regeneration capacity of 98.40% for DOP and 94.00% for SMX at the 10th cycle of treatment in a process described by pseudo-first-order kinetics. The study revealed ZrFe2O4@ZIF-8 as a promising photocatalyst for the purification of DOP and SMX-contaminated water systems.
Acknowledgements: The authors appreciate the support from the Department of Chemistry, University of Ibadan, Nigeria and the Department of Chemistry, University of Cambridge, UK, for analysis.