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Open AccessArticle

Highly Efficient Low-Temperature N-Doped TiO2 Catalysts for Visible Light Photocatalytic Applications

1
Department of Chemical Engineering—Nanomaterials, Catalysis & Electrochemistry, University of Liège, B6a, Quartier Agora, Allée du six Août 11, 4000 Liège, Belgium
2
LumiLab, Department of Solid State Sciences, Ghent University, 9000 Gent, Belgium
3
Institute of Condensed Matter and Nanosciences—MOlecules, Solids and ReactiviTy (IMCN/MOST), Université catholique de Louvain, Place Louis Pasteur 1, Box L4.01.09, 1348 Louvain-La-Neuve, Belgium
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Materials 2018, 11(4), 584; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11040584
Received: 22 February 2018 / Revised: 29 March 2018 / Accepted: 6 April 2018 / Published: 10 April 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Materials Science in Belgium 2017)
In this paper, TiO2 prepared with an aqueous sol-gel synthesis by peptization process is doped with nitrogen precursor to extend its activity towards the visible region. Three N-precursors are used: urea, ethylenediamine and triethylamine. Different molar N/Ti ratios are tested and the synthesis is adapted for each dopant. For urea- and trimethylamine-doped samples, anatase-brookite TiO2 nanoparticles of 6–8 nm are formed, with a specific surface area between 200 and 275 m2·g−1. In ethylenediamine-doped samples, the formation of rutile phase is observed, and TiO2 nanoparticles of 6–8 nm with a specific surface area between 185 and 240 m2·g−1 are obtained. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and diffuse reflectance measurements show the incorporation of nitrogen in TiO2 materials through Ti–O–N bonds allowing light absorption in the visible region. Photocatalytic tests on the remediation of water polluted with p-nitrophenol show a marked improvement for all doped catalysts under visible light. The optimum doping, taking into account cost, activity and ease of synthesis, is up-scaled to a volume of 5 L and compared to commercial Degussa P25 material. This up-scaled sample shows similar properties compared to the lab-scale sample, i.e., a photoactivity 4 times higher than commercial P25. View Full-Text
Keywords: N-doped TiO2; aqueous sol-gel process; photocatalysis; p-nitrophenol degradation; multiple crystalline phase catalyst N-doped TiO2; aqueous sol-gel process; photocatalysis; p-nitrophenol degradation; multiple crystalline phase catalyst
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MDPI and ACS Style

Mahy, J.G.; Cerfontaine, V.; Poelman, D.; Devred, F.; Gaigneaux, E.M.; Heinrichs, B.; Lambert, S.D. Highly Efficient Low-Temperature N-Doped TiO2 Catalysts for Visible Light Photocatalytic Applications. Materials 2018, 11, 584.

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