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Effect of Fe and Bi doping on LaCoO3 structural, magnetic, electric and catalytic properties | Journal of Materials Research and Technology
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DOI: 10.1016/j.jmrt.2019.08.029
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Available online 7 September 2019
Effect of Fe and Bi doping on LaCoO3 structural, magnetic, electric and catalytic properties
Sara Ajmala, Ismat Bibia,
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Corresponding author.
, Farzana Majidb, Sadia Atac,
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Corresponding author.
, Kashif Kamrand, Kashif Jilanie, Shazia Nourenf, Shagufta Kamalg, Abid Alih,
Corresponding author

Corresponding author.
, Munawar Iqbali,
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Corresponding author.
a Department of Chemistry, the Islamia University of Bahawalpur, Pakistan
b Department of Physics, University of the Punjab Lahore, Pakistan
c Institute of Chemistry, University of the Punjab Lahore, Pakistan
d Department of Physics, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan
e Deprtment of Biochemistry, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan
f Department of Chemistry, Govt. College Women University, Sialkot, Pakistan
g Department of Applied Chemistry & Biochemistry, GC University, Faisalabad, Pakistan
h Department of Allied Health Sciences, University of Lahore, Gujrat Campus, Pakistan
i Department of Chemistry, The University of Lahore, Lahore, Pakistan
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Under a Creative Commons license
Received 25 March 2019. Accepted 19 August 2019
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Tables (2)
Table 1. Lattice constants (a and c), cell volume, X-Ray density, bulk density, porosity and crystallite size of La1-xBixCo1-yFeyO3 (x, y=0, 0.15, 0.25, 0.35, 0.45, 0.55) perovskite.
Table 2. The magnetic parameters; magnetization saturation (Ms), coercivity (Hc) and remanance (Mr) of Bi and Fe substituted LaCoO3 perovskites.
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La1-xBixCo1-yFeyO3 perovskite was prepared by micro-emulsion method and effect of the Fe and Bi doping on the properties of perovskite was investigated. As-prepared perovskite was characterized by X-ray diffraction (XRD), Raman spectroscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), scanning electron microscope (SEM), Energy-dispersive X-ray (EDX) and atomic force microscopy (AFM) techniques. La1-xBixCo1-yFeyO3 perovskite showed distorted rhombohedral structure and particle size was in the range of 33.05–57.41nm. Doping of perovskite with Bi and Fe enhanced the direct current (DC) resistivity. Dielectric parameters were studied in the range of 20 to 20MHz and vibrating magnetometery revealed that the Mr and Ms values were higher for La0.75Bi0.25Co0.75Fe0.25O3, whereas LaCoO3 showed higher value of Hc. Photocatalytic activity (PCA) was evaluated by degrading congo red dye and Bi and Fe doped perovskite showed significantly higher activity versus LaCoO3. Results revealed that the doping of LaCoO3 with Bi and Fe enhanced the magnetic, dielectric and catalytic properties of LaCoO3.

LaCoO3 perovskite
Bi and Fe doping
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Nanotechnology has attained much attention due to versatile applications such as disease diagnostics, therapeutic purposes, photocatalysis, energy, environment and storage appliances. At nano-scale material exhibits ideal properties such as optical behavior, mechanical properties, high surface area to volume ratio and electrical behavior in comparison to bulk materials [1–8]. The nanoparticles based on transition metal oxides have been explored extensively and employed in different fields [9]. Perovskites [10,11] are the metal oxides represented by common formula ABO3[12]. Where ‘A’ represents the cation belongs to f, d or s block elements and B represents the small size cation of transition metals. In ABO3 lattice, each B is located at the corner of octahedron and has octahedral co-ordination with oxygen as BO6 and ‘A’ presents center of the whole body of BO6[13]. The perovskites are important due to their attractive optical, photochemical, ferroelectric and conducting properties [14]. The word perovskite was first used for a mineral “CaTiO3” and Russian geologist, Count Lev Alexevivh Perovski was the discoverer. The most abundant perovskite present on earth is MSiO3. (M=Mg and Fe) [15]. The properties of the perovskites such as redox potential, geometry, catalytic activity can be changed by the replacement of A and B position in the perovskites [16].

LaCoO3 is a fascinating materials due to its good oxidation power, thermal stability [17], super conductivity and excellent catalytic activity [18]. At low temperature, it behaves as diamagnetic and at 100°C or above, it shows paramagnetic property due to transition in spin [19]. It has rhombohedral geometry [20] with symmetry R-3¯C [21] and possess applications in different fields such as energy generation, catalysis, environment, sensors [22,23], and photocatalysis [24]. The LaCoO3, has been used as a catalyst for the removal of soot of diesel engine [25]. LaCoO3 exhibit excellent efficiency to convert carbon monoxide to carbon dioxide even at low temperature and has been used as sensor to prevent outburst and CO leakage detection [26]. To date, perovskites are used as a photocatalyst for degradation of pollutants and generation of energy [27]. Fu et al. [28] studied the photocatalytic activity of LaCoO3 for the degradation of neutral-red, methyl orange and methylene blue under solar light irradiation. Various methods have been adopted for the fabrication of LaCoO3 particles. i.e., sol-gel technique, thermal decomposition [29], reflux process, co-precipitation, microwave [30] and milling [31].

In present investigation, La1-xBixCo1-yFeyO3 was prepared by micro-emulsion method and characterized by advanced techniques. Effect of Fe and Bi ions was studied on the basis of structural, magnetic, electric and catalytic properties. The photocatalytic activity (PCA) was evaluated by degrading the congo red dye under solar light irradiation.

2Material and methods2.1Chemicals and reagents

All the chemicals i.e., cobalt nitrate (Co(NO3)2.6H2O, Merck, 98%), lanthanum nitrate (La(NO3)3.6H2O, Fisher, 99%), iron nitrate (Fe (NO3)3.9H2O, analar BDH, 98%), bismuth nitrate (Bi(NO3)3.5H2O, BDH, 98%), ceryltrimetylammo-niumbromide, CTAB (C16H33)N(CH3)3Br, Amresco, 98%), ammonium hydroxide (NH4OH, Merck, 32%) were of analytical grade and used as received. All the solutions were prepared in deionized water having resistivity 18.2cm.

2.2Fabrication of La1-xBixCo1-yFeyO3

For the fabrication of La1-xBixCo1-yFeyO3, stoichiometric amount of the metal precursors were mixed and heated at 50°C. Then, CTAB solution was added and pH was adjusted to 10–11 using 2M ammonia hydroxide solution. The mixture was stirred for 5h at room temperature. The precipitates thus obtained were washed with distilled water to neutral pH. The drying was done at 80° followed by annealing at 950° (heating rate 10°/min) for 9h in muffle furnace (Vulcan A-550). The powder was stored in air tight clean glass vials and subjected to characterization and PCA study.


Crystal structure of La1-xBixCo1-yFeyO3 was determined by XRD analysis (Phillips-X pert PRO 3040/60 X- Ray Diffractometer) in 2θ range of 20-80° using CuKα as radiation source with wavelength 1.542Å. Nexus 470 spectrophotometer was used for FTIR analysis. S-3400 scanning electron microscope (SEM) was used for morphology study. Raman spectra was recorded through T-6400 triple jobin Yyon-Atago/Bussan spectrometer in the range of 100 to 700 cm−1 using excitation wavelength of 51.4Å at 298K having a N2(liquid) cooled CCD detector. AFM analysis was done by A Nanoscope®V multimode setup equipped by Si tips in tapping mode. For dielectric measurement, 4287A RF LCR meter was used. Current voltage was measured by Kiethly-2400m. VSM was recorded on Lakeshore-74071 vibrating sample magnetometer at room temperature. Dual beam Cary 60 (Agilent) spectrophotometer was used for UV–vis spectra and absorbance monitoring.

2.4Photocatalytic activity and phytoxicity evaluation

The PCA was evaluated as already reported elsewhere [32]. The phytoxicity was carried out using 150ppm dye solution before and after treatment. Phytoxicity was evaluated using Raphanus sativus plant [33]. Germination percentage of Raphanus sativus seed was calculated for degraded and non-degraded congo red dye. All experiments were performed in triplicate and data was averaged.

3Results and discussion3.1Characterization

The crystal structure confirmation of La1-xBixCo1-yFeyO3 was done by powder XRD in the range of 20°–80°. The diffraction peaks at 2θ values of 23.2°, 32.81°, 33.28°, 39.86°, 40.03°, 47.62°, 52.70°, 53.66°, 59.08°, 59.93° and 68.94°, which correspond to miller indices values of (012), (110), (104), (202), (006), (024), (122), (116), (214), (018) and (220), respectively (Fig. 1, Table 1). La1-xBixCo1-yFeyO3 showed pure perovskite phases and match with JCPDS cards 25–1060 and 00-036-1392. Crystal geometry was distorted rhombohedral with R-3C space group. No extra peak were observed which confirm the purity if prepared perovskite. The lattice constants were calculated by ‘cell software’. Particle size was calculated by Debye Scherer equation (Eq. 1) [34,35].

Where, D is the average size of particles; K is a constant having value 0.9, ʎ is X ray wavelength, θ is the Braggs angle and ß is the full width at half maxima value. It was observed that by increasing the x and y concentration from 0 to 0.55, the La1-xBixCo1-yFeyO3 crystallite size was increased. The crystal size of perovskites increases from 33.05nm to 57.41nm. The unit cell volume (Fig. 2) of rhombohedral crystal was calculated using relation shown in Eq. (2).

Fig. 1.

(a) XRD pattern of LaCoO3 perovskites and (b) magnified image of characteristic peak.

Table 1.

Lattice constants (a and c), cell volume, X-Ray density, bulk density, porosity and crystallite size of La1-xBixCo1-yFeyO3 (x, y=0, 0.15, 0.25, 0.35, 0.45, 0.55) perovskite.

Samples  Latt. constant (Å)Cell volume  X-ray density  Bulk density  Porosity 
  Å3  gcm−3  gcm−3  P (a.u) 
5.42  13.13  331.71  7.4  3.068  58.55 
5.43  13.17  333.95  7.65  3.95  61.4 
5.42  13.22  333.98  7.85  3.047  61.2 
5.43  13.23  335.47  8.01  3.16  60.5 
5.44  13.21  336.2  8.18  3.008  63.2 
5.44  13.23  336.71  8.38  2.99  64.3 
Fig. 2.

Unit cell volume versus co-substitution (Bi and Fe) contents of perovskites.


The x-ray density of perovskites samples was measured using relation shown in Eq. (3)[36].

P x-ray=ZM/NAV

The observed value of x-ray density for LaCoO3 was 7.4g/cm3 and is line with reported value [37]. Both crystallite volume (331.7–336.2 Å3) and crystallite size (33.05–57.41nm) values were increased by doping. The difference in ionic radius (0.001nm) of La+3 (0.115nm) and Bi+3 (0.116nm) is very low, hence, there is no effective deformation observed due to substitution of Bi in place of La at ‘A’ sites [38]. The size increased due to larger ionic radii of Co+3 (0.52Å) [37] and in case of Fe+3 (0.64Å) [39], the difference was insignificant. The bulk density was calculated using relation shown in Eq. (4)[40].


The volume of the pallet was determined by 4лr2h, where r is the radius and h is thickness of the pallets. The porosity of particles was calculated using relation shown in Eq. (5)[41].

Porosity=1- Pbulk/ P x-ray

The porosity was in the range of 58.5 to 64.3%. The particle size and morphological analysis of samples is done by SEM and responses are shown in Fig. 3. The samples sintered at 950°C shows spherical shape. The average crystallite size determined from XRD analysis is in line with SEM analysis. However, X-ray diffraction analysis reveals only the single crystallite size and the particles are in agglomeration form and in line with previous studies [30,42–44]. In order to examine the chemical composition, EDX was performed and EDX spectrum is shown in Fig. 4. The EDX analysis showed the presence of La, Co, Fe, Bi and oxygen without any impurity.

Fig. 3.

SEM image of Bi and Fe substituted LaCoO3 perovskites.

Fig. 4.

EDX spectrum of Bi and Fe substituted LaCoO3 perovskites.


FTIR analysis of La1-xBixCo1-yFeyO3 perovskites was obtained in range of 400–1400cm−1 at room temperature by using Nexus 470 spectrometer. The typical absorption bands for OCoO bending and CoO stretching vibrations of octahedral co-ordinated CoO6 are observed at 420.23cm−1 and 600cm−1, respectively in the structure of LaCoO3[45–48]. The peak at 540cm−1 was appeared in both doped and un-doped samples due to LaO vibrations. The sharpness of bands for both doped and un-doped conform the symmetrical rhombohedral ABO3 perovskites structure [45,49,50]. The peaks at 474.8cm−1 and 852.5cm−1 were due to stretching mode FeO and BiOBi vibrations, respectively, which was observed only in the doped material [51,52] (Fig. 5).

Fig. 5.

FTIR spectrum of Bi and Fe substituted LaCoO3 perovskites.


The Raman spectrum is shown in Fig. 6 in the range of 100–700cm−1. The spectra showed the presence of bands at 149cm−1, 220cm−1, 437cm−1 and 611cm−1. The bands are similar to the Raman bands of LaCoO3[18,53–55]. There was no secondary peak in the spectra which verified the single phase structure [56]. The width of the bands is related to the small grain size of the nanoparticles [57]. Further confirmation of the particle size and morphology was done by AFM. AFM image of Bi and Fe substituted LaCoO3 along with their particles size distribution is shown in Fig. 7. Different heights of groove show that the particles size was slightly variable; however majority of the particles lies in the size range of 58.6nm. The nanoparticles are not separated well and possess compact distribution [58].

Fig. 6.

Raman spectra of Bi and Fe substituted LaCoO3 perovskites.

Fig. 7.

Atomic Force Microscopic (AFM) of Bi and Fe substituted LaCoO3 perovskites.


The magnetic measurements of annealed samples for x, y=0.0, 0.25, 0.35, 0.45 and 0.55 were carried out by VSM at room temperature (298K) and responses are shown in Figs. 8 and 9. The samples exhibited ferromagnetic behavior. The magnetic parameters such as (Ms) magnetization saturation, (Hc) coercivity and (Mr) remanance are calculated from the hysteresis cycle and values are mentioned in Table 2. It is clear that the values of Mr and Ms were maximum for La0.75Bi0.25Co0.75Fe0.25O3 (x, y=0.25) and minimum for La0.55Bi0.45Co0.55Fe0.45O3 (x, y=0.45). The magnetic parameters (Ms and Mr) values were decreased by doping with Bi and Fe when x, y0.35. The coercivity (Hc) was maximum for x, y=0 and minimum for x, y=0.45 (50.61G). The most probable valance state for La, Bi, Fe and Co was +3. So for, the substitution of Bi and Fe did not alter the oxidation state in LaCoO3 perovskites [59,60]. The increase in Ms and Mr value from x, y=0 to 0.25 was due to increase in Fe contents and interaction of Fe+3OCo+3 and destruction of Co+3OCo+3 and contribution of Fe+3/ Co+3 leads to net magnetization. In La0.75Bi0.25Co0.75Fe0.25O3 25% of Co is replaced by Fe and La is replaced by Bi leads to larger Mr value [61]. The replacement of Bi with La decreased the ferromagnetic nature of La0.65Bi0.35Co0.65Fe0.35O3 and La0.55Bi0.45Co0.55Fe0.45O3 due to diamagnetic nature of Bi than La [59,62]. The DC resistivity of Bi and Fe doped LaCoO3 shown in Figs. 10–13. The IV measurements were done at room temperature. The value of resistance ‘R’ of pure LaCoO3 and doped LaCoO3 with varying concentration of Bi and Co was calculated from the graphs. The specific resistance or resistivity ‘ρ’ was calculated using relation shown in Eq. (6).

Resistivity (ρ)=RAL
Whereas ‘R’ and ‘L’ are the resistance and thickness of pallets, respectively and ‘A’ is the area calculated by fequation A=лr2, where ‘r’ is the radius. The value of ‘ρ’ depends upon the concentration of doped element and crystalline phase of the particles since specific resistance may change by varying the dopant substitution [63–66]. Results revealed that resistivity increased by increasing the concentration of dopant at A and B site in ABO3 type La1-xBixCo1-yFeyO3 perovskite. The resistivity of lanthanum (54×10−8 ohmm at 4.7K) and cobalt (9×10−8 ohmm) is less than that of iron (9.7×10−8 ohmm) and bismuth (115×10−8 ohmm). So far, overall an increasing trend in resistivity was observed by doping from 1.16×1011 Ωcm to 4.08×1012 Ωcm [67]. The increasing resistivity with Bi and Fe substitution is advantageous for their utilization in microwave appliances because such devices need extremely resistive materials. The dielectric study of La1-xBixCo1-yFeyO3 was done using wayneker (WK6500B) LCR meter at room temperature. The frequency range was kept from 20Hz to 20MHz. The dielectric constant or relative permittivity (ε) is the ratio of the permittivity of a substance to the permittivity of free space. Dielectric constant is the measure of the polarity of a medium [68]. It is an expression of the extent to which a material concentrates electric flux, and is the electrical equivalent of relative magnetic permeability. Dielectric behavior is an important property of materials and it depends on the particle size, method of formation, sintering temperature and composition of materials [36]. The dielectric constant was calculated using relation shown in Eq. (7)[69].
Where, ε is dielectric constant, c is capacitance, A is area of pallets, d is pallet’s thickness and εº is permittivity of free space. The dielectric loss or tangent loss (tan δ) is the inherent dissipation of electromagnetic energy by dielectric material. The tangent loss value is actually ratio between the imaginary (ε’) and real part (ε”) of dielectric constant as shown in Eq. (8)[70].
tan δ =  ε''ε'

Fig. 8.

M−H loops showing the evolution of weak ferromagnetic behavior of Bi and Fe substituted LaCoO3 perovskites at room temperature.

Fig. 9.

VSM analysis of Bi and Fe substituted LaCoO3 perovskites at room temperature.

Table 2.

The magnetic parameters; magnetization saturation (Ms), coercivity (Hc) and remanance (Mr) of Bi and Fe substituted LaCoO3 perovskites.

Dopant concentration  0.00  0.25  0.35  0.45  0.55 
Mr (emu/g)  0.00167  0.00827  0.00175  0.00143  0.00153 
Ms (emu/g)  0.222  0.224  0.07  0.127  0.127 
Hc (G)  161.36  152.08  119.07  50.61  158.17 
Fig. 10.

DC (Real) analysis of Bi and Fe substituted LaCoO3 perovskites.

Fig. 11.

DC (Imaginary) analysis of Bi and Fe substituted LaCoO3 perovskites.

Fig. 12.

DC (real) analysis at different concentrations of Bi and Fe substituted LaCoO3 perovskites.

Fig. 13.

DC (imaginary) analysis at different concentrations of Bi and Fe substituted LaCoO3 perovskites.


The trend of Bi and Fe substitution on dielectric parameters are shown in Figs. 14 and 15 and the values of dielectric parameters at the frequencies 20Hz, 80Hz, 495.41Hz and 20MHz. The values of dielectric constants decreased gradually by increasing the frequency. Initially, the decrease in dielectric parameters was rapid and then, decreased at high frequencies. Maximum value of dielectric constant was analyzed at the frequency of 20Hz. The similar trend was examined for dielectric loss and tangent loss. The maximum value of dielectric constant, dielectric loss and tan loss was 446.87 at frequency of 20Hz for x, y=0.35. The polarization of dielectric material is due to the sum of all types of polarizations. The deformational polarization includes ionic polarization (at frequency >1016cm−1) and electronic polarization (at frequency ∼1013cm−1). The relaxation polarization includes dipolar polarization (at frequency >1010cm−1) and space charge polarization (at frequency 1–1000cm−1) [71]. The dispersion of dielectric constant is explained in term of “Koop’s phenomenological theory” that was actually based on double layered homogeneous model of Maxwell-Wegner [72]. According to this, the dielectric material was double layered. The first layer is slightly conducting and second layer was resistive (thin layer grain boundaries). At high frequencies, the dispersion is attributed to conducting grains, whereas at low frequency the conductivity is attributed to non-conductive grain boundaries. Due to resistance of grain boundaries the polarization is produced as hopping electrons pile up at the grain boundaries. The possibility of electrons to arrive at the grain boundaries is decreased by increasing frequency. Actually, the polarons not follow the alternating electric field and all other polarizations except electronic polarization become negligible at higher frequency. So far, the value of dielectric constant decreased with frequency [73,74]. Similar trend was observed for decreasing value of dielectric loss and tangent loss with frequency, which was due to decrease electron hopping.

Fig. 14.

Variation of Tangent loss with Log f of Bi and Fe substituted LaCoO3 perovskites.

Fig. 15.

Variation of Tangent loss at different concentrations of Bi and Fe substituted LaCoO3 perovskites.

3.2Photocatalytic activity

Photocatalyts convert organic pollutants such as complex dye materials into less harmful forms by oxidation and reduction processes under irradiation. In order to study the PCA of La1-xBixCo1-yFeyO3, congo red dye was used. In 200mg/L of dye solution, 15mg La1-xBixCo1-yFeyO3 was suspended and degradation activity was performed under visible light as already reported elsewhere [32]. The absorbance was monitored by UV–vis spectrophotometer at 500nm and percentage degradation was estimated. The UV–vis spectra of congo red dye is shown in Fig. 16. The La1-xBixCo1-yFeyO3 showed excellent PCA for dye degradation. The peak in the visible region at 498nm shows the degradation of (NN) bond and peaks lies in the UV range at 241nm specify the degradation of benzene ring and 342nm indicate the degradation of naphthalene ring. A 95% of dye was degraded by the system in 1h (Figs. 17 and 18). The degradation of congo red dye increased with time and reached 95% after 1h irradiation under solar light irradiation. Under irradiation, electrons are transfer from valance band to conduction band and establishment of electron-hole pair occurred [75,76]. The proposed mechanism of photo-catalyzed degradation of congo red dye is shown in relations (Eqs. 9–16) and Fig. 19.

La0.65Bi0.35Co0.65Fe0.35O3⟶IrradiationLa0.65Bi0.35Co0.65Fe0.35O3 (ecb+h+vb)
La0.65Bi0.35Co0.65Fe0.35O3 (h+vb)+H2O˚OH+H+
La0.65Bi0.35Co0.65Fe0.35O3 (h+vb)+OH˚OH
La0.65Bi0.35Co0.65Fe0.35O3 (ecb)+O2O2˚
Dye+HO2˚, H2O2, O2˚, ˚OHdegraded products

Fig. 16.

The UV–vis spectra of Congo red dye from 0 to 60min under solar light irradiation in the presence of Bi and Fe substituted LaCoO3 perovskites.

Fig. 17.

Percentage degradation of Congo red dye from 0 to 60min under solar light irradiation in the presence of Bi and Fe substituted LaCoO3 perovskites.

Fig. 18.

A/A0 versus time response of Congo red dye degradation in the presence of Bi and Fe substituted LaCoO3 perovskites.

Fig. 19.

Proposed photocatalytic degradation pathway of congo red dye.


The discharge of dyes in effluents from the textile industry is serious ecological and health issues since dyes are toxic [77–83]. Therefore, the toxicity of treated and untreated dye solution was also evaluated. The relative toxicity of congo red was studied by exposing the seeds of Raphanus sativus to un-treated and treated dye solution and responses are shown in Fig. 20. Results clearly indicated that seeds of Raphanus sativus shows 0 germination index and 100 percent germination inhibition in untreated dye solution, whereas seeds of Raphanus sativus germinated 100% in treated solution of dongo red dye, which indicates that in case of treated dye, photo-toxicity reduced 100% with respect to original dye solution. Toxicity results revealed that La1-xBixCo1-yFeyO3 detoxify the dye as a result of dye degradation. Previous studies also showed that photocatalytic treatment is best to degrade and detoxify the dye and textile wastewater, which is a serious threat to the environment [84–96].

Fig. 20.

Germination behavior of Raphanus sativus in Congo red (150ppm) treated and un-treated solution.


La1-xBixCo1-yFeyO3 was successfully synthesized by micro-emulsion method. The formation of synthesized material was confirmed by X-ray diffraction, Raman spectroscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), scanning electron microscope (SEM), Energy-dispersive X-ray (EDX) and atomic force microscopy (AFM) techniques. The La1-xBixCo1-yFeyO3 size was in the range of 33.05–57.41nm. Doping of LaCoO3 with Bi and Fe significant changed the DC resistivity, dielectric parameters and magnetic properties. Photocatalytic activity was evaluated by degrading congo red dye and Bi and Fe doped LaCoO3 (perovskite) showed excellent PCA versus LaCoO3. Results revealed that the doping could possibly be used to enhance the perovskite magnetic, dielectric properties and catalytic activity.

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

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