Tungsten-doped TiO2/reduced Graphene Oxide nano-composite photocatalyst for degradation of phenol: A system to reduce surface and bulk electron-hole recombination.

Author(s) Yadav, M.; Yadav, A.; Fernandes, R.; Popat, Y.; Orlandi, M.; Dashora, A.; Kothari, D.C.; Miotello, A.; Ahuja, B.L.; Patel, N.
Journal J Environ Manage
Date Published 2017 Dec 01

Recombination of photogenerated charges is the main factor affecting the photocatalytic activity of TiO2. Here, we report a combined strategy of suppressing both the bulk as well as the surface recombination processes by doping TiO2 with tungsten and forming a nanocomposite with reduced graphene oxide (rGO), respectively. Sol-gel method was used to dope and optimize the concentration of W in TiO2 powder. UV-Vis, XPS, PL and time resolved PL spectra along with DFT calculations indicate that W(6+) in TiO2 lattice creates an impurity level just below the conduction band of TiO2 to act as a trapping site of electrons, which causes to improve the lifetime of the photo-generated charges. Maximum reduction in the PL intensity and the improvement in charge carrier lifetime was observed for TiO2 doped with 1 at.% W (1W-TiO2), which also displayed the highest photo-activity for the degradation of p-nitro phenol pollutant in water. Tuning of rGO/TiO2 ratio (weight) disclosed that the highest activity can be achieved with the composite formed by taking equal amounts of TiO2 and rGO (1:1), in which the strong interaction between TiO2 and rGO causes an effective charge transfer via bonds formed near the interface as indicated by XPS. Both these optimized concentrations were utilized to form the composite rGO/1W-TiO2, which showed the highest activity in photo-degradation of p-nitro phenol (87%) as compared to rGO/TiO2 (42%), 1W-TiO2 (62%) and pure TiO2 (29%) in 180 min. XPS and PL results revealed that in the present nanocomposite, tungsten species traps the excited electron to reduce the interband recombination in the bulk, while the interaction between TiO2 and rGO creates a channel for fast transfer of excited electrons towards the latter before being recombined on the surface defect sites.

DOI 10.1016/j.jenvman.2017.08.010
ISSN 1095-8630
Citation J Environ Manage. 2017;203(Pt 1):364374.

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