Synthesis and Characterization of the All Solid Z-Scheme Bi2WO6/Ag/AgBr for the Photocatalytic Degradation of Ciprofloxacin in Water

  • J. C. Durán-Álvarez
  • M. Méndez-Galván
  • L. Lartundo-Rojas
  • M. Rodríguez-Varela
  • D. Ramírez-Ortega
  • D. Guerrero-Araque
  • R. ZanellaEmail author
Original Paper


The continuous release of antibiotics to the environment via wastewater is becoming a priority. Since conventional depuration systems are unable to remove these substances, aquatic organisms in natural water bodies receiving effluents are facing a continuous risk of harmful effects. Advanced oxidation processes, such as heterogeneous photocatalysis have demonstrated to fully degrade antibiotics in water, thus attention is focused on developing more efficient photocatalysts. In this work, an all solid Z-scheme heterostructure was obtained to photocatalytically degrade and mineralize ciprofloxacin. Initially, Bi2WO6 was synthesized via the solvothermal method; then Ag° nanoparticles were photo-deposited on its surface, followed by the precipitation of AgBr. The AgBr/Ag/Bi2WO6 heterostructure was characterized by XRD, TEM, SEM, XPS, DRS and BET. Electrochemical characterization was used to determine the potential of the valence and conduction bands of the semiconductors, as well as to elucidate the mechanisms leading to the charge carrier transference within the heterostructure. These characterizations provided the evidence to classify the synthesized heterostructure as an all solid-state Z-scheme. Photocatalytic activity tests under visible light irradiation demonstrated a clear synergistic effect of the AgBr/Ag/Bi2WO6 heterostructure, compared to its single components. In pure water, degradation and mineralization yields of 57% and 38% were respectively obtained upon 5 h irradiation. Then, photocatalysis was performed using tap water and initial concentration of ciprofloxacin was set at 50 µg L−1. In this case, the pollutant was completely degraded and mineralized. The photocatalyst was stable upon four reaction cycles in tap water.


Antibiotics Charge carriers Heterostructure Photocatalysis Semiconductors Water depuration 



The authors would like to thank the financial support provided by Secretaría de Ciencia y Tecnología e Innovación de la Ciudad de México (SECITI) in the framework of the project SECITI/047/2016. We also want to thank to M. Sc. Javier Tadeo from Laboratorio de Espectroscopia Atómica, Viridiana Maturano from Laboratorio Universitario de Nanotecnología Ambiental, and Roberto Hernández Reyes from Laboratorio de Microscopía, UNAM for technical support. D. A. Ramírez Ortega (CVU 329398) thanks CONACYT postdoctoral grant.

Supplementary material

11244_2019_1190_MOESM1_ESM.docx (263 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 262 kb)


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Instituto de Ciencias Aplicadas y TecnologíaUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de MéxicoMexico CityMexico
  2. 2.Centro de Nanociencias y Micro y NanotecnologíasInstituto Politécnico NacionalMexico CityMexico

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