Photocatalytic performance of crystalline titania polymorphs in the degradation of hazardous pharmaceuticals and dyes*

Thi Thuong Huyen Tran, Hendrik Kosslick, Axel Schulz and Quang Liem Nguyen

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Keywords: nano


In the present work, nano-sized TiO2 polymorphs (anatase, brookite, and rutile) were synthesized via hydrothermal treatment of an amorphous titania. Three polymorphs were characterized by XRD, Raman spectroscopy, SEM, UV–Vis DRS, and N2-sorption measurements. The photocatalytic degradation experiments were performed with low catalyst concentration, high organic loading under a 60 W UV–Vis solarium lamp irradiation. The photocatalytic degradation was monitored by UV–Vis spectroscopy and TOC measurements. Cinnamic acid, ibuprofen, phenol, diatrizoic acid and the dyes rhodamine B and rose bengal were used as model pollutants. The formation of intermediates was studied by ESI-TOF-MS measurements. The presence of active species was checked by quenching the activity by addition of scavengers. The photocatalytic activity decreased in the order: anatase  ≥  brookite  >  rutile, with growing recalcitrance of organic compounds. The differences in the activity are more pronounced in the degree of mineralization. The valence band holes and superoxide radicals were the major active species in the photocatalytic treatment with anatase and brookite, whereas hydroxyl radicals and superoxide radicals contributed mainly in the treatment with rutile explaining the lower activity of rutile. The complementary use of UV–Vis spectroscopy and TOC measurements was required to obtain a comprehensive realistic assessment on the photocatalytic performance of catalyst

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