Structural, Magnetic and Photocatalytic Properties of BiFeO3 Nanoparticles
Single phase BiFeO3 nanoparticles as a visible light photocatalyst were successfully synthesized by thermal decomposition of the glyoxylate precursor. The glyoxylate precursors were formed by the redox reaction between ethylene glycol and nitrate ions. The phase evolution, structure and optical properties of BiFeO3 nanoparticles were characterized by X-ray diffraction, electron microscopy and UV–Vis spectroscopy methods. The BiFeO3 nanoparticles showed the quasi spherical shape. The BiFeO3 nanoparticles synthesized at 500 °C showed the weak ferromagnetism behavior, due to the size confinement effect, in spite of the antiferromagnetic behavior of the BiFeO3 nanoparticles synthesized at 600 °C. The BiFeO3 nanoparticles exhibited strong absorption in the visible region with the optical band gap calculated from Tauc’s plot. The optical band gap decreased from 2.10 to 2.08 eV by the increasing of thermal decomposition temperature. Moreover, the BiFeO3 nanoparticles were used for the degradation of methylene blue as a typical dye pollutant under direct sunlight irradiation.