Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 20, Issue 6, pp 3582–3591 | Cite as

Photocatalytic degradation of contaminants of concern with composite NF-TiO2 films under visible and solar light

  • H. Barndõk
  • M. Peláez
  • C. Han
  • W. E. PlattenIII
  • P. Campo
  • D. Hermosilla
  • A. Blanco
  • D. D. Dionysiou
Wastewater Reuse Applications and Contaminants of Emerging Concern (WRA & CEC 2012)


This study reports the synthesis and characterization of composite nitrogen and fluorine co-doped titanium dioxide (NF-TiO2) for the removal of contaminants of concern in wastewater under visible and solar light. Monodisperse anatase TiO2 nanoparticles of different sizes and Evonik P25 were assembled to immobilized NF-TiO2 by direct incorporation into the sol–gel or by the layer-by-layer technique. The composite films were characterized with X-ray diffraction, high-resolution transmission electron microscopy, environmental scanning electron microscopy, and porosimetry analysis. The photocatalytic degradation of atrazine, carbamazepine, and caffeine was evaluated in a synthetic water solution and in an effluent from a hybrid biological concentrator reactor (BCR). Minor aggregation and improved distribution of monodisperse titania particles was obtained with NF-TiO2-monodisperse (10 and 50 nm) from the layer-by-layer technique than with NF-TiO2 + monodisperse TiO2 (300 nm) directly incorporated into the sol. The photocatalysts synthesized with the layer-by-layer method achieved significantly higher degradation rates in contrast with NF-TiO2-monodisperse titania (300 nm) and slightly faster values when compared with NF-TiO2-P25. Using NF-TiO2 layer-by-layer with monodisperse TiO2 (50 nm) under solar light irradiation, the respective degradation rates in synthetic water and BCR effluent were 14.6 and 9.5 × 10−3 min−1 for caffeine, 12.5 and 9.0 × 10−3 min−1 for carbamazepine, and 10.9 and 5.8 × 10−3 min−1 for atrazine. These results suggest that the layer-by-layer technique is a promising method for the synthesis of composite TiO2-based films compared to the direct addition of nanoparticles into the sol.


NF-TiO2 Monodisperse Sol–gel method Carbamazepine Atrazine Caffeine TiO2 photocatalysis Solar Visible light Contaminants Emerging Concern Water Reuse 



This research was funded by the Cyprus Research Promotion Foundation through Desmi 2009–2010, which is co-funded by the Republic of Cyprus and the European Regional Development Fund of the EU (contract NEA IPODOMI/STRATH/0308/09); the Ministry of Science and Innovation of Spain (project “AGUA Y ENERGÍA”, CTM2008-06886-C02-01); the European Commission (project “AQUAFIT4USE”, 211534); and the Archimedes Foundation (Estonia), which is granting Helen Barndõk’s Ph.D. studies.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. Barndõk
    • 1
  • M. Peláez
    • 2
  • C. Han
    • 2
  • W. E. PlattenIII
    • 2
  • P. Campo
    • 2
  • D. Hermosilla
    • 1
  • A. Blanco
    • 1
  • D. D. Dionysiou
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Chemical EngineeringComplutense University of MadridMadridSpain
  2. 2.Environmental Engineering and Science ProgramUniversity of CincinnatiCincinnatiUSA
  3. 3.Nireas-International Water Research CentreUniversity of CyprusNicosiaCyprus

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