Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 24, Issue 14, pp 12571–12581 | Cite as

Cu and Zr surface sites in the photocatalytic activity of TiO2 nanoparticles

  • O. Pliekhova
  • I. Arčon
  • O. Pliekhov
  • N. Novak Tušar
  • U. Lavrenčič ŠtangarEmail author
Environmental Photocatalysis and Photochemistry for a Sustainable World: A Big Challenge


The rate of methylene blue and terephthalic acid degradation assisted with double metal-modified catalyst (0.1 mol% Cu and 1.0 mol% Zr) was enhanced as compared with single metal-modified catalysts (0.1, 0.5 mol% Cu and 1.0 mol% Zr). The wet impregnation method was used for copper and zirconium modification of the surface of Aeroxide P25 TiO2 particles. Simultaneous loading of both metals on the surface of P25 leads to an increased specific surface area of the obtained material despite negative Cu influence. The tendency of stabilization and agglomerate size rising with the time for Cu and Zr-modified catalysts were traced by dynamic light scattering (DLS) measurements. The observed optical characteristics suggest that Cu compensated the broadening of band gap caused by Zr loading. Crystal structure of obtained photocatalysts was explored by XRD; morphological data and particle size were obtained by SEM. EDX was used for Zr and Cu content determination. Cu K-edge extended X-ray absorption fine structure (EXAFS) and X-ray absorption near edge structure (XANES) analytical techniques were used to investigate the local Cu neighbourhood in the samples and to identify copper coordination and valence state of copper species in the synthesized nanocomposites.


Photocatalysis Titanium dioxide  Copper Zirconium Co-doping EXAFS XANES 



This work has been funded by INFINITY project in the framework of the EU Erasmus Mundus Action 2. Financial support from Belgian-Slovenian (FWO-ARRS) project “Development of advanced TiO2-based photocatalyst for the degradation of organic pollutants from wastewater” and from the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport of Slovenia, the Slovenian Research Agency is acknowledged (research programs P2-0377, P1-0112 and P1-0021). Access to synchrotron radiation facilities of ELETTRA, Trieste, Italy, beamline XAFS, in the frame of project 20140041, is also acknowledged. We thank Giuliana Aquilanti and Luca Olivi, from XAFS beamline at synchrotron ELETTRA, for the support and expert advice on beamline operation. We also thank Dr. Mattia Fanetti from Materials Research Laboratory, University of Nova Gorica, and Helena Spreizer from National Institute of Chemistry for performing SEM-EDX and UV–Vis DRS measurements, respectively.

Supplementary material

11356_2016_7685_MOESM1_ESM.docx (120 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 120 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • O. Pliekhova
    • 1
  • I. Arčon
    • 1
    • 2
  • O. Pliekhov
    • 3
  • N. Novak Tušar
    • 1
    • 3
  • U. Lavrenčič Štangar
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.University of Nova GoricaNova GoricaSlovenia
  2. 2.Jozef Stefan InstituteLjubljanaSlovenia
  3. 3.National Institute of ChemistryLjubljanaSlovenia

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