A novel basic bismuth nitrate, [Bi6O6(OH)2](NO3)4·2H2O (denoted as BiON-4N), was easily obtained at room temperature in the existence of 2-methoxyethanol (CH3OCH2CH2OH; 2ME) with a pH value ranging from 4.5 to 7.0. The morphology of BiON-4N could be easily tailored by changing the variety and amount of bases like urea, hexamethylenetetramine (HMTA), NaOH and NH3·H2O. When the solution pH was decreased lower than 4.5, another basic bismuth nitrate, [Bi6O5(OH)3](NO3)5·3H2O (denoted as BiON-5N), could be synthesized. Among those, BiON-4N nanoparticles obtained with 40mmol of HMTA exhibited superior photocatalytic activity for rhodamine B (RhB) degradation with an efficiency of 100% within 4min of UV light irradiation, which was much higher than that of commercial TiO2 (P25). The excellent photocatalytic performance of BiON-4N was mainly attributed to higher surface area (13.1m2g−1) in comparison with other basic bismuth nitrates. Furthermore, the as-prepared BiON-5N revealed excellent adsorption performance for the anions like methyl orange (MO) and K2Cr2O7, and especially for MO, the maximum adsorption capacity arrived up to 730mgg−1, which should be relevant to highly positively charged surface. This work provides a new strategy for developing bismuth-based nanomaterials in the big bismuth family as potential photocatalyst and adsorbent for the removal of dyes and contaminants.
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