Application of Highly Functional Ti-Oxide-Based Photocatalysts in Clean Technologies
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Various Ti-oxide based photocatalysts such as the highly dispersed Ti-oxide species within zeolite frameworks, TiO2 nano-particles hybridized with hydrophobic zeolite adsorbents as well as visible light responsive TiO2 thin films have been successfully prepared. Characterization studies at the molecular level, such as X-ray absorption fine structure (XAFS) and photoluminescence (PL), revealed that the highly dispersed Ti-oxide species within the nano-spaces of zeolites possess a tetrahedral coordination and that they demonstrate unique and high performance for the photocatalytic decomposition of NOx and the photocatalytic reduction of CO2 with H2O. A high photocatalytic reactivity for the TiO2 semiconducting photocatalysts could be achieved by blending them with hydrophobic siliceous zeolites which was equal to the performance of TiO2 deposited with expensive Pt particles. The role of the siliceous zeolites can be described as a so-called “catch and release effect of organic compounds”, i.e., (i) the condensation of the reactants within the hydrophobic cavities of zeolites and; (ii) the efficient diffusion of the reactant onto the TiO2 photocatalytic sites. Furthermore, a novel photocatalytic system which can convert abundant solar energy into renewable H2 energy by the decomposition of H2O into H2 and O2 can also be achieved by using visible light responsive TiO2 thin film photocatalysts prepared by a RF-magnetron sputtering deposition method. The conversion efficiency of solar energy into H2 energy may be estimated at ca. 0.1% from the initial rate of H2 evolution.