In this study, ZnTi-mixed metal oxides (ZTM), such as ZnTiO3, were synthesized from ZnTi layered double hydroxides by varying the molar ratio of Zn/Ti, calcination temperatures, and synthesis methods (hydrothermal or reflux). The surface electronic characteristics of ZTM were investigated by the energy-resolved distribution of electron traps (ERDTs) using reversed double-beam photoacoustic spectroscopy. The ZTM samples obtained by conducting hydrothermal synthesis at 500 °C showed similar ERDT patterns independent of the molar ratio of Zn/Ti, although ZnTiO3 phase was not observed in the X-ray diffraction pattern, when the Zn/Ti ratio was high. When the ERDT patterns demonstrated a high electron accumulation level near the conduction band bottom in hydrothermal products at 500 °C, a higher photocatalytic phenol degradation efficiency was observed due to the formation of ZnTiO3 phase. This suggested that the product with the high Zn/Ti molar ratio (Zn/Ti = 6) constituted amorphous ZnTiO3.The enhanced photocatalytic performance of ZTM could be attributed to the heterojunction of electrons among ZnO, TiO2, and ZnTiO3, which enabled electron transfer in the composites, prevented charge recombination, and promoted a wider visible light adsorption by ZnTiO3 phase irrespective of its crystallinity.
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