Pure versus metal-ion-doped nanocrystalline titania for photocatalysis
Thin films of pure or doped nanocrystalline titania have been deposited on glass slides by using a sol–gel procedure, in the presence of surfactant Triton X-100, which acts as template of the nanostructure. Fe3+, Cr3+ and Co2+ were used as dopants while the doping extended in a broad domain from very low to very high levels. The photocatalytic efficiency of pure or doped titania was tested for discoloration of an aqueous solution of Basic Blue 41. The presence of dopants resulted in a progressive loss of total crystallinity, some transition from anatase into rutile and, in the case of Co2+, formation of the mixed oxide cobalt titanate. Loss of anatase had dramatic consequences on photocatalytic efficiency by UV–vis excitation, which decreased fast with increasing dopant concentration. Selected visible excitation of the doped titania could lead to photodegradation of the dye but to a far lesser degree than UV–vis excitation. Photosensitization by absorption of light by the dye itself loses its importance in the presence of the dopant. Thus the doped material is a visible-light photocatalyst but substantial photodegradation efficiency is achieved only at very high doping levels, for example, 20 at.% for Fe3+ doping. In any case, direct UV excitation of pure titania is a more efficient photocatalytic process than visible excitation of the doped semiconductor.
Journal: Applied Catalysis B: Environmental - Volume 73, Issues 1–2, 24 April 2007, Pages 51–59