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Synthesis, Characterization, and Photocatalytic Performance of Mesoporous α-Mn2O3 Microspheres Prepared via a Precipitation Route
α-Mn2O3 microspheres with high phase purity, crystallinity, and surface area were synthesized by the thermal decomposition of precipitated MnCO3 microspheres without the use of any structure directing agents and tedious reaction conditions. The prepared Mn2O3 microspheres were characterized by Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, powder X-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and Brunauer-Emmett-Teller (BET) and photoluminescence (PL) studies. The complete thermal transformation of MnCO3 to Mn2O3 was clearly shown by the FTIR and XRD analysis. The electron microscopic images clearly confirmed the microsphere-like morphology of the products with some structural deformation for the calcined Mn2O3 sample. The mesoporous texture generated from the interaggregation of subnanoparticles in the microstructures is visibly evident from the TEM and BET studies. Moreover, the Mn2O3 microstructures showed a moderate photocatalytic activity for the degradation of methylene blue dye pollutant under UV light irradiation, using air as the potential oxidizing agent.
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