Synthesis of visible light-driven graphene based ZnFe mixed metal oxide for efficient degradation of tetracycline

  • Ying Wei
  • Jianxing Liang
  • Yan Yao
  • Xiangyang Xu
  • Xiaoke Zheng
  • Guangyu HeEmail author
  • Haiqun ChenEmail author


Magnetically separable reduced graphene oxide (RGO)-based ZnFe mixed metal oxide (MMO) nanocomposite (MMO/RGO) was prepared via a scalable and low energy-consuming co-precipitation-calcination process. The preparation procedure can be easily carried out at lower temperature in shorter time compared with those reported in literatures. The structural characterization indicates that ZnFe MMO (i.e., ZnO/ZnFe2O4) heterojunctions are homogeneously distributed as particles with a size in the range of 5–30 nm on the surface of RGO. The ZnFe MMO/RGO nanocomposite exhibits superior photocatalytic performance and stability for the degradation of tetracycline (TC) under visible-light illumination. 100% of the TC molecules is removed after visible-light irradiation for 120 min at 25 °C in the presence of ZnFe MMO/RGO. The photodegradation rate constant is 3.4 times that of ZnFe MMO, suggesting that the synergistic effect between ZnFe MMO and RGO improves the photocatalytic degradation performance of the nanocomposites. Neither toxic chemical reductants nor additional solvents were used during the preparation. More importantly, ZnFe MMO/RGO nanocomposite can be easily recycled by applying an external magnet. This work may provide an environment-friendly low-energy consuming method for large-scale production of MMO/RGO photocatalysts toward the degradation of TC. The photocatalytic mechanism of the ZnFe MMO/RGO nanocomposite was also investigated.



The authors are grateful for the financial support from National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 51572036, 51472035), Changzhou Key Laboratory of Graphene-Based Materials for Environment and Safety (Grant Nos. CM20153006, CE20185043), and PAPD of Jiangsu Higher Education Institution.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Advanced Catalytic Materials and Technology, Advanced Catalysis and Green Manufacturing Collaborative Innovation CenterChangzhou UniversityChangzhouChina

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