Facile synthesis of Zr4+ substituted Mn0.2Co0.8Fe2−xO4 nanoparticles and their composites with reduced graphene oxide for enhanced photocatalytic performance under visible light irradiation

Adeel Ahmed, Muhammad Usman, Song Wang, Bing Yu, Youqing Shen, Hailin Cong*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


The increasing worldwide pollution of water resources with dyes has emphasized the need to develop highly versatile and effective approaches for their remediation. In this study, zirconium substituted manganese cobalt ferrite (Mn0.2Co0.8ZrxFe2−xO4) nanoparticles, and their composites with reduced graphene oxide (Mn0.2Co0.8ZrxFe2−xO4/rGO) were synthesized and used as effective photocatalyst materials for the degradation of dyes. X-ray diffraction analysis was executed to probe the cubic spinel structures of nanoparticles in the size range of 18–24 nm. Scanning Electron Microscopy revealed the formation of spherical shaped nanoparticles and their dispersion on the exfoliated surface of rGO. The saturation magnetization and remanence of samples decreased from 57.23 to 24.16 emu/g and 27.68–13.98 emu/g respectively while the coercivity of samples increased from 1067.76 Oe to 1616.97 Oe due to the incorporation of non-magnetic Zr4+ into the lattice. The BET surface area of nanoparticles and nanocomposites lies in the range of 47.52–78.33 m2/g, while the average pore size was found to be 2.48–21.43 nm. The degradation performance of as-prepared nanoparticles and nanocomposites was evaluated against Alizarin Yellow R (AYR) dye under visible light irradiation. Mn0.2Co0.8ZrxFe2−xO4/rGO nanocomposites showed higher degradation performance and 92.49% dye degradation was achieved in 70 min, while in the case of Mn0.2Co0.8ZrxFe2−xO4 nanoparticles 52.45% dye was degraded in 120 min. The effects of different operational parameters on the degradation performance of nanocomposites were investigated thoroughly. The higher photodegradation of nanocomposites was attributed to the large surface area and less magnetization, making them potential candidates for their applications in water purification.

Original languageEnglish
Article number116766
JournalSynthetic Metals
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Photocatalysis
  • RGO based nanocomposites
  • Spinel ferrites
  • Visible light
  • Zirconium substitution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Metals and Alloys
  • Materials Chemistry

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