Microwave-Assisted Synthesis of N/TiO2 Nanoparticles for Photocatalysis under Different Irradiation Spectra

Nanomaterials (Basel). 2022 Apr 26;12(9):1473. doi: 10.3390/nano12091473.


Nitrogen-doped TiO2 (N/TiO2) photocatalyst nanoparticles were derived by the environmentally friendly and cost-effective microwave-assisted synthesis method. The samples were prepared at different reaction parameters (temperature and time) and precursor ratio (amount of nitrogen source; urea). The obtained materials were characterized by X-ray diffraction (XRD), photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), Raman spectroscopy (RS), infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), diffuse reflectance spectroscopy (DRS), electron microscopy (SEM-EDS), and nitrogen adsorption/desorption isotherms. Two cycles of optimizations were conducted to determine the best reaction temperature and time, as well as N content. The phase composition for all N/TiO2 nanomaterials was identified as photoactive anatase. The reaction temperature was found to be the most relevant parameter for the course of the structural evolution of the samples. The nitrogen content was the least relevant for the development of the particle morphology, but it was important for photocatalytic performance. The photocatalytic activity of N/TiO2 nanoparticle aqueous suspensions was evaluated by the degradation of antibiotic ciprofloxacin (CIP) under different irradiation spectra: ultraviolet A light (UVA), simulated solar light, and visible light. As expected, all prepared samples demonstrated efficient CIP degradation. For all irradiation sources, increasing synthesis temperature and increasing nitrogen content further improved the degradation efficiencies.

Keywords: N/TiO2; UVA; ciprofloxacin; microwave-assisted synthesis; simulated solar light; visible light.

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