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Journal of Nanomaterials
Volume 2016, Article ID 5981562, 11 pages
Research Article

Sprayed Pyrolyzed ZnO Films with Nanoflake and Nanorod Morphologies and Their Photocatalytic Activity

1Instituto de Investigaciones en Materiales, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, A.P. 70-360, 04510 Coyoacán, DF, Mexico
2Posgrado en Ciencia e Ingeniería de Materiales, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, A.P. 70-360, 04510 Coyoacán, DF, Mexico

Received 23 February 2016; Revised 11 April 2016; Accepted 13 April 2016

Academic Editor: Yogendra Mishra

Copyright © 2016 Nora S. Portillo-Vélez and Monserrat Bizarro. 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.


There is an increasing interest on the application of ZnO nanorods in photocatalysis and many growth methods have been applied, in particular the spray pyrolysis technique which is attractive for large scale production. However it is interesting to know if the nanorod morphology is the best considering its photocatalytic activity, stability, and cost effectiveness compared to a nonoriented growth. In this work we present a systematic study of the effect of the precursor solution (type of salt, solvent, and concentration) on the morphology of sprayed ZnO films to obtain nanoflakes and nanorods without the use of surfactants or catalysts. The surface properties and structural characteristics of these types of films were investigated to elucidate which morphology is more favorable for photocatalytic applications. Wettability and photocatalytic experiments were carried out in the same conditions. After UV irradiation both morphologies became hydrophilic and achieved a dye discoloration efficiency higher than 90%; however, the nanoflake morphology provided the highest photocatalytic performance (99% dye discoloration) and stability and the lowest energy consumption during the synthesis process. The surface-to-volume ratio revealed that the nanoflake morphology is more adequate for photocatalytic water treatment applications and that the thin nanorods should be preferred over the large ones.