Low Cost Graphene Oxide Modified Alumina Nanocomposite as Solar Light Induced Photocatalyst

A new wet chemical methodology is introduced for high quality Al<sub>2</sub>O<sub>3</sub> microflowers using aluminum foil as a cheaper precursor for the first time and sodium dodecyl sulfate as template. The gamma alumina (γ-Al<sub>2</sub>O<sub>3</sub>) is prepared with excellent catalytic properties having small crystallite size with decreased band gap in comparison to its bulk state. This can be attributed to morphological planar defects like stepped surfaces in brick morphology. Such planar defects allow electronic transitions under solar light in pure Al<sub>2</sub>O<sub>3</sub>. Moreover, a novel heterojunction of Al<sub>2</sub>O<sub>3</sub> and graphene oxide (GO) is developed as an efficient photocatalyst under solar light. Well incorporated GO sheets within the alumina matrix have been presented in SEM images of composites. The marvelous photocatalytic performance of 15.0% GO/Al<sub>2</sub>O<sub>3</sub> hybrid is recorded under solar light. The new composite material possesses the extended spectral response and exhibits reduce electron–hole pair recombination chances due to the incorporation of GO sheets. Furthermore, mechanism and kinetics of degradation are studied. The cost analysis is performed which shows that Al<sub>2</sub>O<sub>3</sub> prepared by this method is 1000 times cheaper than available Al<sub>2</sub>O<sub>3</sub> by Sigma-Aldrich. This investigation leads to economic future development of effective Al<sub>2</sub>O<sub>3</sub> based photoactive materials for catalysis and other solar light induced energy applications.