We carried out the in situ synthesis of gold nanoparticles inside a natural clinoptilolite-type zeolite matrix, using ascorbic acid as reducing agent. The microstructure of both zeolite and zeolite-gold nanocomposite was characterized by X-ray diffraction (XRD), Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), Scanning Transmission Electron Microscopy (STEM), and Energy-Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (EDS) techniques. Size distribution as assessed by STEM indicated that 60% of gold nanoparticles measured less than 2.5 nm. Determination of the surface area by the BET method revealed a specific value of 27.35 m2/g. The catalytic activity of zeolite-gold regarding methylene blue degradation under different light-exposing conditions was evaluated by UV-Vis spectroscopy. The results indicated that 50% degradation was achieved in only 11 min in presence of sunlight. This reaction was faster in comparison with those obtained using a white LED light. A notable aspect of this study is that catalysis was carried out without the addition of any strong reducing agents, such as sodium borohydride (NaBH4).
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© 2016 Ericka Rodríguez León et al.