Controllable ZnO materials with different morphologies were synthesized via a simple solvothermal method in dimethylacetamide (DMAc) media. The significance of the synthetic strategy is the generation of exotic structures without using any templates/structure directing agents and successful realization of different morphologies. Detailed investigation revealed that the size and shape of ZnO materials can be conveniently tailored by systematically exercising control on the choice of contents of DMAc. The optical properties of the as-prepared ZnO materials were investigated by room temperature photoluminescence. Photodegradation of phenol was used as a model reaction to test the photocatalytic activity of the ZnO products. The morphology-dependent photocatalytic performances in the degradation of phenol under UV light illumination were observed, in which the ZnO spherical nanoparticles exhibit the highest activity. The kinetic behavior of a photocatalytic reaction can be described by a pseudo-first order model. The efficiency of degradation of the as-prepared ZnO spherical nanoparticles structures was more than twice times faster than that of using ZnO rods under the UV light irradiation. Moreover, the as-prepared products exhibited high photostability, and degradation efficiency could be slightly decreased even after being used three cycles. The possible mechanism for the difference photocatalytic activity of the as-prepared ZnO structures was also discussed.

Weiliang Feng, Min Tao and Pei Huang