Varied morphologies and compositions of bismuth tungstate nanocomposites have been investigated as promising materials for photocatalytic applications. Among these nanocomposites, hierarchically structured bismuth sulfide (Bi2S3)/bismuth tungstate (Bi2WO6) hybrids have significant photocatalytic efficiency toward heavy metal ions. To simplify the synthetic procedure for this desirable composite, we developed a robust single-step hydrothermal synthesis for the formation of hierarchically structured heterocatalysts of Bi2S3/Bi2WO6 with a high yield (>95%). The synthesized heterostructures were characterized by various spectroscopic, microscopic, and surface area analysis techniques, which confirmed the successful incorporation of Bi2S3 into the Bi2WO6 matrix and were used to optimize pore size for enhanced catalytic activity. The resulting Bi2S3/Bi2WO6 heterocatalysts were used to remove toxic Cr(VI) ions via reduction to water insoluble Cr(III) utilizing visible-light irradiation. We also investigated the role of citric acid as a hole scavenger in the reduction of Cr(VI) with minimizing the rate of electron-hole recombination during photocatalysis. Likewise, the observed catalytic activity was significantly enhanced under a condition of an appropriate balance between hierarchical structure of catalysts and the amount of hole scavenger.
- Cr(VI) reduction
- Hierarchical heterostructures
- Hydrothermal synthesis