A comparative study on emergent pollutants photo-assisted degradation using ruthenium modified titanate nanotubes and nanowires as catalysts

Olinda C. Monteiro , Beatriz Barrocas , M. Conceição Oliveira , Helena I.S. Nogueira , Sara Fateixa


Received August 02, 2019,Revised , Accepted January 31, 2020, Available online February 12, 2020

Volume 32,2020,Pages 38-51

Several methods have been used to tailor nanomaterials structure and properties. Sometimes, slight changes in the structure outcomes expressive improvements in the optical and photocatalytic properties of semiconductor nanoparticles. In this context, the influence of the metal doping and the morphology on a catalyst performance was studied in this work. Here, ruthenium doped titanate nanotubes (RuTNT) were synthesised for the first time using an amorphous Ru-containing precursor. Afterwards, the photocatalytic performance of this sample was compared to the one obtained for ruthenium titanate nanowires (RuTNW), recently reported. Two samples, RuTNW and RuTNT, were produced using the same Ru-containing precursor but distinct hydrothermal methodologies. The powders were structural, morphological and optical characterized by X-ray diffraction and fluorescence, transmission electron microscopy, Raman, X-ray photoelectron and photoluminescence spectroscopies. Distinct variations on the structural and optical properties of the RuTNT and RuTNW nanoparticles, due to ruthenium incorporation were observed. Their potential use as photocatalysts was evaluated on the hydroxyl radical photo-assisted production. Both samples were catalytic for this reaction, presenting better performances than the pristine counterparts, being RuTNT the best photocatalyst. Subsequently, the degradation of two emergent pollutants, caffeine and sulfamethazine, was studied. RuTNT demonstrated to be better photocatalyst than RuTNW for caffeine but identical performances were obtained for sulfamethazine. For both catalysts, the degradation mechanism of the pollutants was explored through the identification and quantification of the intermediate compounds produced and several differences were found. This indicates the importance of the structural and morphological aspects of a material on its catalytic performance.

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