Enhancement of photocatalytic potential and recoverability of Fe3O4 nanoparticles by decorating over monoclinic zirconia

Idrees Khan, Noor Zada, Ibrahim Khan, Muhammad Sadiq, Khalid Saeed

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Photodegradation of organic pollutants is considered to be the most suitable and cheaper technique to counter the decontamination issues. Metal nanoparticles are considered to be the most effective heterogeneous photocatalysts for photodegradation of organic pollutants. Besides, iron oxide nanoparticles are well-known photocatalysts for degrading organic pollutants. Methods: We reported the synthesis of neat iron oxide nanoparticles (Fe3O4 NPs) and zirconia supported iron oxide nanoparticles (Fe3O4/ZrO2 NPs) by facile chemical reduction technique for photodegradation ofa toxic azo dye namely methyl red. Results: The XRD and FTIR analysis has demonstrated a crystalline phase Fe3O4 NPs. The morphological features via scanning electronic microscopy (FESEM) suggested agglomerated morphology of neat Fe3O4 NPs with 803.54 ± 5.11 nm average particle size and revealed the uniform morphology and homogenous dispersion of Fe3O4 NPs over ZrO2 surface in Fe3O4/ZrO2 nanocomposite. A polydispersity index (PDI) of 0.47 showed sufficient variations in the particle size of neat Fe3O4 NPs, which is also supported by the results obtained from atomic force microscopy (AFM), FESEM and Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM). Fe3O4/ZrO2 NPs demonstrated efficient methyl red degradation over a short period of time under simulated light and degraded about ~ 91.0 ± 1.0% and 87.0 ± 1.0% dye in 40 min, under UV and visible light, respectively. Conclusion: The excellent photodegradation efficacy and sustainability of Fe3O4/ZrO2 NPs can be attributed to the homogenous distribution of Fe3O4 NPs over ZrO2, which facilitates the generation of photoexcitons (electrons and holes), enhanced charge transfer and minimize the charge recombination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1473-1489
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Environmental Health Science and Engineering
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • FeO
  • Methyl red
  • Nanoparticles
  • Photodegradation
  • Zirconia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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