Keywords: UV protection, ZnO nanoparticles, photocatalytic activity, transition metal doping, surface modification, nanotechnology, ultraviolet radiation, zinc oxide, photocatalysis, UV radiation, UV blocking agents, UV shielding products, quantum dots, cobalt, manganese, silica, silicon dioxide
Reduction of the photocatalytic activity of ZnO nanoparticles for UV protection applications
The detrimental effects of UV radiation are having a significant impact on our life and environment. The development of effective UV shielding agents is therefore of great importance to our society. ZnO nanoparticles are considered to be one of the most effective UV blocking agents. However, the development of ZnO–based UV shielding products is currently hindered due to the adverse effects of the inherent photocatalytic activity exhibited by ZnO. This paper reports our recent study on the possibility of reducing the photoactivity of ZnO nanoparticles via surface modification and impurity doping. It was found that the photoactivity was drastically reduced by SiO2–coatings that were applied to ZnO quantum dots using the Stöber method and a microemulsion technique. The effect of transition metal doping on the photoactivity was also studied using mechanochemical processing and a co–precipitation method. Cobalt doping reduced the photoactivity, while manganese doping led to mixed results, possibly due to the difference in the location of dopant ions derived from the difference in the synthesis methods.