Controlled defects of zinc oxide nanorods for efficient visible light photocatalytic degradation of phenol

Jamal Al-Sabahi, Tanujjal Bora, Mohammed Al-Abri*, Joydeep Dutta

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Citations (Scopus)


Environmental pollution from human and industrial activities has received much attention as it adversely affects human health and bio-diversity. In this work we report efficient visible light photocatalytic degradation of phenol using supported zinc oxide (ZnO) nanorods and explore the role of surface defects in ZnO on the visible light photocatalytic activity. ZnO nanorods were synthesized on glass substrates using a microwave-assisted hydrothermal process, while the surface defect states were controlled by annealing the nanorods at various temperatures and were characterized by photoluminescence and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. High performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) was used for the evaluation of phenol photocatalytic degradation. ZnO nanorods with high surface defects exhibited maximum visible light photocatalytic activity, showing 50% degradation of 10 ppm phenol aqueous solution within 2.5 h, with a degradation rate almost four times higher than that of nanorods with lower surface defects. The mineralization process of phenol during degradation was also investigated, and it showed the evolution of different photocatalytic byproducts, such as benzoquinone, catechol, resorcinol and carboxylic acids, at different stages. The results from this study suggest that the presence of surface defects in ZnO nanorods is crucial for its efficient visible light photocatalytic activity, which is otherwise only active in the ultraviolet region.

Original languageEnglish
Article number238
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Annealing
  • Oxygen vacancy
  • Phenol
  • Photocatalysis
  • Surface defect
  • Zinc oxide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Controlled defects of zinc oxide nanorods for efficient visible light photocatalytic degradation of phenol'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this