Photocatalytic activity and antibacterial behavior of TiO2 coatings co-doped with copper and nitrogen via sol–gel method

  • Nasim Tahmasebizad
  • Mohammad Taghi Hamedani
  • Mehdi Shaban GhazaniEmail author
  • Yaghoub Pazhuhanfar
Original Paper: Sol-gel and hybrid materials for catalytic, photoelectrochemical and sensor applications


The sol–gel process is used to prepare photocatalytic coatings with antibacterial properties. Also, doping with metallic or non-metallic elements has an impact on the antibacterial and photocatalytic activity of these coatings. Although there are many studies in this field, the effect of co-doping with Cu and N and their concentrations on the antibacterial properties of TiO2 coatings against the E. coli and S. aureus bacteria has not been studied. In the present investigation, the sol–gel method was employed to deposit both undoped and Cu-N co-doped TiO2 photocatalytic coatings on glass surface, which are expected to degrade bacterial and chemical contaminants in water while exposed to visible sunlight wavelengths. Before the coating process, an appropriate heat treatment was applied on the samples and the quality of coatings, band gap energy, and also photocatalytic and antibacterial properties were evaluated. Results showed that, in the presence of dopants, the band gap become narrower and the absorption spectrum is transferred from the ultraviolet to the visible light range. Also, it was demonstrated that, under the visible light radiation, all of the co-doped samples show higher photocatalytic activity than the undoped ones. Meanwhile, the antibacterial characteristics of TiO2 coatings was enhanced by increasing the dopant concentration when exposing to sunlight.


  • TiO2 coatings co-doped with different concentrations of copper and nitrogen were applied on glass surface using sol–gel process.

  • The influence of the dopant concentration on the photocatalytic activity and antibacterial properties was discussed.

  • Under the visible light radiation, all of the co-doped samples have higher photocatalytic activities than the undoped ones, while the 0.75%Cu-N sample has the best photocatalytic activity, even better than the 1% Cu-N one.


Titanium dioxide Co-doping Sol–gel method Band gap Photocatalyric activity 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical standards

This work complies with the ethical rules of this journal.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Materials Science Engineering, Faculty of Mechanical EngineeringUniversity of TabrizTabrizIran
  2. 2.Department of Materials Science EngineeringUniversity of BonabBonabIran
  3. 3.Department of Materials Science EngineeringSahand University of TechnologyTabrizIran

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