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Journal of Nanomaterials
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 9541683, 10 pages
Research Article

Study of Methylene Blue Degradation by Gold Nanoparticles Synthesized within Natural Zeolites

1Departamento de Física, Universidad de Sonora, Rosales y Transversal, 83000 Hermosillo, SON, Mexico
2Departamento de Ingeniería Química y Metalurgia, Universidad de Sonora, Rosales y Transversal, 83000 Hermosillo, SON, Mexico
3Department of Physics and Astronomy, The University of Texas at San Antonio, One UTSA Circle, San Antonio, TX 78249, USA

Received 28 March 2016; Accepted 28 April 2016

Academic Editor: Xuping Sun

Copyright © 2016 Ericka Rodríguez León 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.


We carried out the in situ synthesis of gold nanoparticles inside a natural clinoptilolite-type zeolite matrix, using ascorbic acid as reducing agent. The microstructure of both zeolite and zeolite-gold nanocomposite was characterized by X-ray diffraction (XRD), Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), Scanning Transmission Electron Microscopy (STEM), and Energy-Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (EDS) techniques. Size distribution as assessed by STEM indicated that 60% of gold nanoparticles measured less than 2.5 nm. Determination of the surface area by the BET method revealed a specific value of 27.35 m2/g. The catalytic activity of zeolite-gold regarding methylene blue degradation under different light-exposing conditions was evaluated by UV-Vis spectroscopy. The results indicated that 50% degradation was achieved in only 11 min in presence of sunlight. This reaction was faster in comparison with those obtained using a white LED light. A notable aspect of this study is that catalysis was carried out without the addition of any strong reducing agents, such as sodium borohydride (NaBH4).