Synthesis and Characterisation of Photocatalyst Silver/Silver Halide Nanocomposites
The photochemical activity of silver halides forms the basis of photography and latent image formation. More recently it has been used to create hybrid silver/silver halide nanoparticles. These are formed through partial reduction of Ag⁺ to Ag⁰ by a photochemical self-sensitisation when irradiated with light. This gives the silver/silver halide nanoparticles interesting photocatalytic properties. As such, these silver/silver halide nanoparticles have seen to be part of group of photocatalysts known as plasmonic photocatalysts. Where, the photocatalytic mechanism is enhanced by the surface plasmon resonance of noble metal nanodomains on the surface of the silver halide nanoparticle. The silver/silver halide nanoparticles of Cl⁻, Br⁻ and I⁻ were synthesised and characterised. Silver/silver halide nanoparticles were then incorporated into porous support materials creating silver/silver halide nanocomposite materials. This was through a straight forward aqueous synthesis method, where silver halide nanoparticles precipitated from solution, and nanoparticle size, shape and stabilisation was controlled by the porous support material. Silver/silver halide nanocomposite samples using Cl⁻, Br⁻ and I⁻ were synthesised using wool fibres, kraft paper fibres and nanostructured calcium silicate as supports. UV/Vis and XRD showed Ag⁰ nanodomains were formed during the self-sensitisation process. SEM showed the morphology of the nanocomposites and that the nanoparticles were distributed within the nanocomposite matrix, not deposited on the surface. Preliminary photocatalytic activity of Ag/AgCl nanoparticles and nanocomposites was evaluated through the degradation of methylene blue when irradiated with light. All samples showed increased photocatalytic activity with the Ag/AgCl nanoparticles.