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

Abstract

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.

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Acknowledgments

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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Correspondence to D. D. Dionysiou.

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Responsible editor: Philippe Garrigues

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Barndõk, H., Peláez, M., Han, C. et al. Photocatalytic degradation of contaminants of concern with composite NF-TiO2 films under visible and solar light. Environ Sci Pollut Res 20, 3582–3591 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-013-1550-z

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Keywords

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