Impacts of copper-containing precursors on the photocatalytic activity of Cu-modified ZnO nanoparticles

The Luan Nguyen, Tien Khoa Le, Torben Lund, Huu Khanh Hung Nguyen, Thi Kieu Xuan Huynh*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Cu-modified ZnO photocatalysts were prepared using a thermal shock method with different copper-containing precursors (Cu(NO3)2, Cu(CH3COO)2, CuSO4) in order to study the impacts of the thermal shock method on the photocatalytic activity of ZnO under both UVA light and visible light irradiation. The influences of copper-containing precursors on the crystal structure, morphology, surface structure and surface composition were investigated by X-ray diffraction, transmission electron microscopy, infrared spectroscopy and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. The UVA-light and visible-light-induced photocatalytic activities were evaluated through the degradation of methylene blue. According to the experimental results, ZnO catalysts modified with Cu(NO3)2 and Cu(CH3COO)2 exhibited higher performance than unmodified ZnO, which may be explained by the formation of oxygen vacancies and Cu(I) species on the surface of modified oxides. However, when ZnO was modified by CuSO4, the absence of oxygen vacancies and the presence of large sulphate ions on the ZnO surface were supposed to be the factors decreasing its photocatalytic activity.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Nanotechnology
Issue number7-10
Pages (from-to)514-528
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research is funded by the Vietnam National Foundation for Science and Technology Development (NAFOSTED) under grant number 104.03-2016.43.


  • Copper-containing precursors
  • Oxygen vacancies
  • Photocatalysis
  • Surface modification
  • Thermal shock
  • XPS
  • ZnO

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