Influence of Pb and Co-doping on photocatalytic degradation performance of Zno thin films

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Department of Materials Science and Engineering, School of Engineering, Shiraz University, 7134851153, Shiraz, Iran.

2 Jahrom Organization of Education, Jahrom, Iran.


Abstract. Nanostructured ZnO thin films with two different dopants namely Pb and Co were prepared by a sol–gel method. The thin films have been prepared from zinc acetate, monoethanolamine and iso-propanol and then they were deposited on glass substrate by using a dip coating method. The structural, morphological, photocatalytic activity and optical absorbance of thin films were investigated by X-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), ultraviolet-visible spectrophotometer and degradation of methylene blue dye (MB). The all thin films exhibited a polycrystalline hexagonal wurtzite structure that revealed by XRD. Due to doping, the average grain size of ZnO thin film increased. All films showed a wrinkle morphology. Photocatalytic activity of thin films was evaluated in aqueous solutions of Methylene Blue (MB) under UV-light illumination. The results indicated that the photocatalytic activity of ZnO thin films increased by Pb doping, conversely Co doping reduced the photocatalytic activity in comparison with the pure ZnO films. Hence speed of degradation of methylene blue by Pb doped ZnO is higher than that of pure and Co doped ZnO.


  1. Ma L, Ai X, Huang X, Ma S. Effects of the substrate and oxygen partial pressure on the microstructures and optical properties of Ti-doped ZnO thin films. Superlattices and Microstructures. 2011;50(6):703-12.
  2. Sankara Reddy B, Venkatramana Reddy S, Koteeswara Reddy N, Prabhakara Reddy Y. Structural, Optical And Magnetic Properties Of (Fe, Ag) Co-doped ZnO Nanostructures. Advanced Materials Letters. 2014;5(4):199-205.
  3. Moosavi F, Bahrololoom ME, Kamjou RA. Effects of Cu doping on nano structure, morphology and photocatalytic activity of ZnO thin film synthesized by sol-gel method. Stud. UBB Chem. 2016 Mar 1;1:79.
  4. Li Z, Zhang G, Gao W, Zhao R, Wang Y. Ag decorated ZnO nanocrystallines synthesized by a low-temperature solvothermal method and their application for high response H2 gas sensor. Journal of Materials Science: Materials in Electronics. 2019;30(20):18959-69.
  5. Zhang Q, Dandeneau CS, Zhou X, Cao G. ZnO Nanostructures for Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells. Advanced Materials. 2009;21(41):4087-108.
  6. Shi D, Guo Z, Bedford N. Electro-Optical and Piezoelectric Applications of Zinc Oxide. Nanomaterials and Devices: Elsevier; 2015. p. 175-90.
  7. da Silva-Neto ML, de Oliveira MCA, Dominguez CT, Lins REM, Rakov N, de Araújo CB, et al. UV random laser emission from flexible ZnO-Ag-enriched electrospun cellulose acetate fiber matrix. Scientific reports. 2019;9(1):11765-.
  8. Dahiya AS, Opoku C, Oshman C, Poulin-Vittrant G, Cayrel F, Tran Huu Hue LP, et al. Zinc oxide sheet field-effect transistors. Applied Physics Letters. 2015;107(3):033105.
  9. Khokhra R, Bharti B, Lee H-N, Kumar R. Visible and UV photo-detection in ZnO nanostructured thin films via simple tuning of solution method. Scientific reports. 2017;7(1):15032-.
  10. Aroutiounian VM. Zinc Oxide Gas Sensors. Journal of Contemporary Physics (Armenian Academy of Sciences). 2020;55(4):323-33.
  11. Chou C-M, Thanh Thi LT, Quynh Nhu NT, Liao S-Y, Fu Y-Z, Hung LVT, et al. Zinc Oxide Nanorod Surface-Enhanced Raman Scattering Substrates without and with Gold Nanoparticles Fabricated through Pulsed-Laser-Induced Photolysis. Applied Sciences. 2020;10(14):5015.
  12. Kuriakose S, Satpati B, Mohapatra S. Enhanced photocatalytic activity of Co doped ZnO nanodisks and nanorods prepared by a facile wet chemical method. Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics. 2014;16(25):12741.
  13. Gelover S, Mondragón P, Jiménez A. Titanium dioxide sol–gel deposited over glass and its application as a photocatalyst for water decontamination. Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology A: Chemistry. 2004;165(1-3):241-6.
  14. Yun J, Jin D, Lee Y-S, Kim H-I. Photocatalytic treatment of acidic waste water by electrospun composite nanofibers of pH-sensitive hydrogel and TiO2. Materials Letters. 2010;64(22):2431-4.
  15. Hariharan C. Photocatalytic degradation of organic contaminants in water by ZnO nanoparticles: Revisited. Applied Catalysis A: General. 2006;304:55-61.
  16. Neppolian B, Sakthivel S, Arabindoo B, Palanichamy M, Murugesan V. Degradation of textile dye by solar light using TiO2and ZnO photocatalysts. Journal of Environmental Science and Health, Part A. 1999;34(9):1829-38.
  17. van Dijken A, Janssen AH, Smitsmans MHP, Vanmaekelbergh D, Meijerink A. Size-Selective Photoetching of Nanocrystalline Semiconductor Particles. Chemistry of Materials. 1998;10(11):3513-22.
  18. Dindar B, Içli S. Unusual photoreactivity of zinc oxide irradiated by concentrated sunlight. Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology A: Chemistry. 2001;140(3):263-8.
  19. Gouvêa CAK, Wypych F, Moraes SG, Durán N, Nagata N, Peralta-Zamora P. Semiconductor-assisted photocatalytic degradation of reactive dyes in aqueous solution. Chemosphere. 2000;40(4):433-40.
  20. Etacheri V, Roshan R, Kumar V. Mg-Doped ZnO Nanoparticles for Efficient Sunlight-Driven Photocatalysis. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces. 2012;4(5):2717-25.
  21. Welderfael T, Yadav OP, Taddesse AM, Kaushal J. Synthesis, characterization and photocatalytic activities of Ag-N-codoped ZnO nanoparticles for degradation of methyl red. Bulletin of the Chemical Society of Ethiopia. 2013;27(2).
  22. Yousefi R, Jamali-Sheini F, Sa’aedi A, Zak AK, Cheraghizade M, Pilban-Jahromi S, et al. Influence of lead concentration on morphology and optical properties of Pb-doped ZnO nanowires. Ceramics International. 2013;39(8):9115-9.
  23. Panigrahy B, Aslam M, Bahadur D. Aqueous Synthesis of Mn- and Co-Doped ZnO Nanorods. The Journal of Physical Chemistry C. 2010;114(27):11758-63.
  24. Balti I, Mezni A, Dakhlaoui-Omrani A, Léone P, Viana B, Brinza O, et al. Comparative Study of Ni- and Co-Substituted ZnO Nanoparticles: Synthesis, Optical, and Magnetic Properties. The Journal of Physical Chemistry C. 2011;115(32):15758-66.
  25. Pearton SJ, Abernathy CR, Norton DP, Hebard AF, Park YD, Boatner LA, et al. Advances in wide bandgap materials for semiconductor spintronics. Materials Science and Engineering: R: Reports. 2003;40(4):137-68.
  26. Barakat MA, Schaeffer H, Hayes G, Ismat-Shah S. Photocatalytic degradation of 2-chlorophenol by Co-doped TiO2 nanoparticles. Applied Catalysis B: Environmental. 2005;57(1):23-30.
  27. Park TE, Kong BH, Cho HK, Park DJ, Lee JY. Influence of gas atmosphere during growth interruption in the deposition of ZnO films by magnetron sputtering. Physica B: Condensed Matter. 2006;376-377:735-40.
  28. Deng H, Russell JJ, Lamb RN, Jiang B, Li Y, Zhou XY. Microstructure control of ZnO thin films prepared by single source chemical vapor deposition. Thin Solid Films. 2004;458(1-2):43-6.
  29. Peng F, Wang H, Yu H, Chen S. Preparation of aluminum foil-supported nano-sized ZnO thin films and its photocatalytic degradation to phenol under visible light irradiation. Materials Research Bulletin. 2006;41(11):2123-9.
  30. Lemlikchi S, Abdelli-Messaci S, Lafane S, Kerdja T, Guittoum A, Saad M. Study of structural and optical properties of ZnO films grown by pulsed laser deposition. Applied Surface Science. 2010;256(18):5650-5.
  31. Pal B, Sharon M. Enhanced photocatalytic activity of highly porous ZnO thin films prepared by sol–gel process. Materials Chemistry and Physics. 2002;76(1):82-7.
  32. Kaneva NV, Dimitrov DT, Dushkin CD. Effect of nickel doping on the photocatalytic activity of ZnO thin films under UV and visible light. Applied Surface Science. 2011;257(18):8113-20.
  33. Ahmad M, Pan C, Yan W, Zhu J. Effect of Pb-doping on the morphology, structural and optical properties of ZnO nanowires synthesized via modified thermal evaporation. Materials Science and Engineering: B. 2010;174(1-3):55-8.
  34. Nair MG, Nirmala M, Rekha K, Anukaliani A. Structural, optical, photo catalytic and antibacterial activity of ZnO and Co doped ZnO nanoparticles. Materials Letters. 2011;65(12):1797-800.
  35. Thongsuriwong K, Amornpitoksuk P, Suwanboon S. Structure, morphology, photocatalytic and antibacterial activities of ZnO thin films prepared by sol–gel dip-coating method. Advanced Powder Technology. 2013;24(1):275-80.
  36. Parchur AK, Ansari AA, Singh BP, Hasan TN, Syed NA, Rai SB, et al. Enhanced luminescence of CaMoO4:Eu by core@shell formation and its hyperthermia study after hybrid formation with Fe3O4: cytotoxicity assessment on human liver cancer cells and mesenchymal stem cells. Integr Biol. 2014;6(1):53-64.
  37. Yang H, Nie S. Preparation and characterization of Co-doped ZnO nanomaterials. Materials Chemistry and Physics. 2009;114(1):279-82.
  38. Sakai K, Kakeno T, Ikari T, Shirakata S, Sakemi T, Awai K, et al. Defect centers and optical absorption edge of degenerated semiconductor ZnO thin films grown by a reactive plasma deposition by means of piezoelectric photothermal spectroscopy. Journal of Applied Physics. 2006;99(4):043508.
  39. Jongnavakit P, Amornpitoksuk P, Suwanboon S, Ndiege N. Preparation and photocatalytic activity of Cu-doped ZnO thin films prepared by the sol–gel method. Applied Surface Science. 2012;258(20):8192-8.
  40. Lu Y, Lin Y, Wang D, Wang L, Xie T, Jiang T. A high performance cobalt-doped ZnO visible light photocatalyst and its photogenerated charge transfer properties. Nano Research. 2011;4(11):1144-52.