Ag nanoparticles (NPs) modified ZnO microspheres (Ag/ZnO microspheres) were prepared by a facile one pot strategy in ethylene glycol (EG) medium. The EG played two important roles in the synthesis: it could act as a reaction media for the formation of ZnO and reduce Ag+ to Ag0. A series of the characterizations indicated the successful combination of Ag NPs with ZnO microspheres. It was shown that Ag modification could greatly enhance the photocatalytic efficiency of ZnO microspheres by taking the photodegradation of Rhodamine B as a model reaction. With appropriate ratio of Ag and ZnO, Ag/ZnO microspheres showed the better photocatalytic performance than commercial Degussa P-25 TiO2. Photoluminescence and surface photovoltage spectra demonstrated that Ag modification could effectively inhibit the recombination of the photoinduced electron and holes of ZnO. This is responsible for the higher photocatalytic activity of Ag/ZnO composites.
A “one-pot” strategy was developed for preparing the Ag/ZnO microspheres in ethylene glycol. The composites exhibited superior photocatalytic performance for photodegradation of Rhodamine B dye in water.