Photochemical reactivity of apical oxygen in KSr2Nb5O15 materials for environmental remediation under UV irradiation
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The photocatalytic activity of a series of novel KSr2Nb5O15 materials was studied using the photooxidation of methylene blue as model reaction. The influence of the calcination time upon the crystalline structure and photoactivity was verified. Characterization was performed by XRD, SEM, FTIR, UV–Vis/DR, Helium picnometry, and N2 and CO2 adsorption-desorption isotherms. The diffraction line profile and the refinement of the structural parameters of KSr2Nb5O15 were obtained from the XRD patterns by the Rietveld method. Data showed that samples were photoactive under UV irradiation, regardless the synthesis conditions. However, the calcination time had a clear influence upon the photocatalytic activity of the samples, being more efficient towards the degradation of the dye those obtained at a lower calcination time. Indeed, the sample calcined for 4 h showed up to 4 times higher photocatalytic activity than commercial TiO2. Additionally, a correlation between the photocatalytic activity and the displacement of the Nb ion from the central position in the [NbO6] octahedron was found. It is suggested that this fact causes an important polarization of the niobate structure. The apical oxygen in these samples is very reactive and can lead to the formation of superoxoradical anions (O2 -) showing that KSr2Nb5O15 can be potentially used in photocatalytic reactions under UV irradiation.