Effect of cerium doping on the optical and photocatalytic properties of ZnO nanoflowers
Photocatalytic performances of the synthesized cerium doped (Ce-doped) ZnO nanoflowers are reported in this work. A microwave-assisted sol–gel method is adopted for the synthesis of the nanomaterial and its structural and morphological features are characterized. While doping, the Ce3+ ions occupy the sites of Zn2+ ions in the hexagonal ZnO lattice, which is investigated by means of X-ray diffraction studies and energy dispersive X-ray analysis. At higher Ce3+ concentrations, ultraviolet (UV) light absorption is quite high as evidenced by the UV–Vis absorption spectra. The photoluminescence study demonstrates higher oxygen vacancy and zinc interstitials for the Ce-doped ZnO compared to the undoped ZnO. Ce-doping improves the electrical properties of the sample as well. Finally, it is established that the Ce-doped ZnO nanoflower is highly efficient in UV degrading the methylene blue organic dye.