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International Journal of Photoenergy
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 349030, 8 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/349030
Research Article

Synthesis, Characterization, and Electronic Structure Studies of Cubic Bi1.5ZnTa1.5O7 for Photocatalytic Applications

1Chemistry, Physics and Mechanical Engineering School, Science and Engineering Faculty, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, QLD 4001, Australia
2Institute for Future Environments, Science and Engineering Faculty, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, QLD 4001, Australia

Received 16 May 2015; Revised 21 September 2015; Accepted 4 October 2015

Academic Editor: Mohammed Ashraf Gondal

Copyright © 2015 Ganchimeg Perenlei et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Bi1.5ZnTa1.5O7 (BZT) has been synthesized using an alkoxide based sol-gel reaction route. The evolution of the phases produced from the alkoxide precursors and their properties have been characterized as function of temperature using a combination of thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) coupled with mass spectrometry (MS), infrared emission spectrometry (IES), X-ray diffraction (XRD), ultraviolet and visible (UV-Vis) spectroscopy, Raman spectroscopy, and N2 adsorption/desorption isotherms. The lowest sintering temperature (600°C) to obtain phase pure BZT powders with high surface area (14.5 m2/g) has been determined from the thermal decomposition and phase analyses. The photocatalytic activity of the BZT powders has been tested for the decolorization of organic azo-dye and found to be photoactive under UV irradiation. The electronic band structure of the BZT has been investigated using density functional theory (DFT) calculations to determine the band gap energy (3.12 eV) and to compare it with experimental band gap (3.02 eV at 800°C) from optical absorption measurements. An excellent match is obtained for an assumption of Zn cation substitutions at specifically ordered sites in the BZT structure.