The influence of heterogeneous semiconductors on the photodegradation of phenol in water was investigated using doped tin dioxide (SnO2) nanoparticles. Photocatalysts of SnO2 were synthesized with lanthanum (La), cerium (Ce), and neodymium (Nd) dopants. These photocatalysts were synthesized from tin tetrachloride by sol-gel method with different dopant concentrations, and its photocatalytic degradation was investigated up to 0.8 % under UV-A light in aqueous suspensions. The photocatalytic oxidation reactions were studied by varying photocatalyst composition, light intensity, reaction time, pH of the reaction medium, and phenol concentration. It was found that the photocatalytic activity of rare earth-doped SnO2 for phenol decomposition under UV light irradiation was considerably higher than that of pure SnO2 nanoparticles. The experimental results also indicate that more than 95 % phenol was effectively oxidized in the presence of an aqueous suspension of La: SnO2 nanoparticles within 120 min of UV light irradiation.
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