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Material Science Letters Read vol. 3
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Electrospun Strontium Titanata Nanofibers Incorporated with Nickel Oxide Nanoparticles for Improved Photocatalytic Activities
The inexpensive sources of fossil fuels in the world are limited, and will deplete soon because of the huge demand on the energy and growing economies worldwide. Thus, many research activities have been focused on the non-fossil fuel based energy sources, and this will continue next few decades. Water splitting using photocatalysts is one of the major alternative energy technologies to produce hydrogen directly from water using photon energy of the sun. Numerous solid photocatalysts have been used by researchers for water splitting. In the present study, nickel oxide and strontium titanata were chosen as photocatalysts for water splitting. Poly (vinyl pyrrolidone) (PVP) was incorporated with nickel oxide [Ni2O3] (co-catalyst), while poly (vinyl acetate) (PVAc) was mixed with titanium (IV) isopropoxide [C12H28O4Ti] and strontium nitrate [Sr(NO3)2]. Then, two solutions were electrospun using coaxial electrospinning technique to generate nanoscale fibers incorporated with NiOx nanoparticles. The fibers were then heat treated at elevated temperatures for 2hr in order to transform the strontium titanata and nickel oxide into crystalline form for a better photocatalytic efficiency. The morphology of fibers was characterized via scanning electron microscopy (SEM), while the surface hydrophobicity was determined using water contact angle goniometer. The UV-vis spectrophotometer was also used to determine the band gap energy values of the nanofibers. This study may open up new possibilities to convert water into fuel directly using the novel photocatalysts.