SCIENCE CHINA Materials, Volume 61, Issue 8: 1033-1039(2018) https://doi.org/10.1007/s40843-017-9229-x

PbCrO4 yellow-pigment nanorods: An efficient and stable visible-light-active photocatalyst for O2 evolution and photodegradation

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  • ReceivedDec 9, 2017
  • AcceptedFeb 9, 2018
  • PublishedMar 15, 2018


Here, PbCrO4 nanorods, a commonly used and low-cost yellow pigment, was synthesized via a simple precipitation reaction and can serve as a highly efficient oxygen production and photodegradation photocatalyst. The obtained PbCrO4 nanorods exhibit excellent stability and photocatalytic performance for O2 evolution from water. The production rate is approximately 314.0 μmol h−1 g−1 under visible light, and the quantum efficiency is approximately 2.16% at 420±10 nm and 0.05% at 600±10 nm. In addition, the PbCrO4 shows good degradation performance for methylene blue, methyl blue, methyl orange and phenol under visible-light irradiation. These results indicate that it is potential to fabricate an effective, robust PbCrO4 photocatalyst by transforming heavy-metal pollutants Pb(II) and Cr(VI) into a highly efficient O2 evolution and photodegradation material. This strategy which uses pollutant to produce clean energy and degrade contaminants is completely green and environ- mentally benign, and thus could be a promising way for practical environmental applications.

Funded by

the National Natural Science Foundation of China(21401190)

the Science and Technology Project of Research Foundation of China Postdoctoral Science(2017M612710,2016M592519)

Shenzhen Peacock Plan(827-000059,827-000113,KQTD2016053112042971)

the Science and Technology Planning Project of Guangdong Province(2016B050501005)

and the Educational Commission of Guangdong Province(2016KCXTD006,2016KSTCX126)


This work was jointly supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (21401190), the Science and Technology Project of Research Foundation of China Postdoctoral Science (2017M612710 and 2016M592519), Shenzhen Peacock Plan (827-000059, 827-000113 and KQTD2016053112042971), the Science and Technology Planning Project of Guangdong Province (2016B050501005), and the Educational Commission of Guangdong Province (2016KCXTD006 and 2016KSTCX126).

Interest statement

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Contributions statement

Zhang GQ performed the experiments and wrote the manuscript with the guidance from Su CL and Sun X. All authors contributed to the general discussion and revision.

Author information

Guo-Qiang Zhang received his bachelor degree majored in material chemistry from Lanzhou University in 2012. Then he completed his PhD degree at the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences under the supervision of Prof. Da-Bing Li. His research interest is the semiconductor photocatalytic water spliting. Now, he continues his research on photocatalysis at SZU-NUS International Collaborative Laboratory as a Post-doctor.

Chen-Liang Su received his BSc degree (2005) and PhD degree (2010) in the Department of Chemistry from Zhejiang University (2010). After that he worked as a research fellow at the Advanced 2D Materials and Graphene Research Centre in the National University of Singapore (2010–2015). He is now a full-professor at the International Collaborative Laboratory of 2D Materials for Optoelectronics Science and Technology (ICL-2D MOST), Shenzhen University and a Principal Investigator of ICL-2D MOST in materials science. His current interests focus on the chemical design of 2D materials/nano materials for catalysis and energy related applications.


Supplementary information

Supporting information is available in the online version of the paper.


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  • Figure 1

    The crystal structure (Pb, green; Cr, purple; O, red) of PbCrO4 (a). The XRD pattern (b), DRS UV-vis spectrum (c), optical image (inset of c) and Tauc plot of the transformed Kubelka-Munk function versus the energy (d) of the PbCrO4 nanorods.

  • Figure 2

    The calculated electronic band structures (a), DOS (b), UPS (c) and SPS (d) of the PbCrO4 nanorods.

  • Figure 3

    The FE-SEM images (a, b), low-resolution TEM image (c) and HR-TEM image (d) of the PbCrO4 nanorods.

  • Figure 4

    The O2 evolution of the PbCrO4 nanorods and BiVO4 under visible-light irradiation (a), the measured quantum efficiencies for photons at different wavelengths for the PbCrO4 nanorods (b).

  • Figure 5

    The photocatalytic degradation (λ>420 nm) of dyes (a), recycles measure of photocatalytic degradation of methylene blue (b) and methyl blue (c), the DMPO spin-trapping ESR spectra of PbCrO4 nanorods for ·DMPO-OH (d).

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