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Cu-Doped TiO2: Visible Light Assisted Photocatalytic Antimicrobial Activity

Nanotechnology and Bio-engineering Research Group, Department of Environmental Science, Institute of Technology Sligo, Sligo F91 YW50, Ireland
Centre for Precision Engineering, Materials and Manufacturing Research (PEM), Institute of Technology Sligo, Sligo F91 YW50, Ireland
Tyndall National Institute, University College Cork, Lee Maltings, Dyke Parade, Cork P51 DX59, Ireland
The Surface Analysis Laboratory, Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences, University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey GU2 7XH, UK
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Appl. Sci. 2018, 8(11), 2067;
Received: 27 September 2018 / Revised: 17 October 2018 / Accepted: 22 October 2018 / Published: 26 October 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cu and Cu-Based Nanoparticles: Applications in Catalysis)
PDF [5345 KB, uploaded 26 October 2018]


Surface contamination by microbes is a major public health concern. A damp environment is one of potential sources for microbe proliferation. Smart photocatalytic coatings on building surfaces using semiconductors like titania (TiO2) can effectively curb this growing threat. Metal-doped titania in anatase phase has been proven as a promising candidate for energy and environmental applications. In this present work, the antimicrobial efficacy of copper (Cu)-doped TiO2 (Cu-TiO2) was evaluated against Escherichia coli (Gram-negative) and Staphylococcus aureus (Gram-positive) under visible light irradiation. Doping of a minute fraction of Cu (0.5 mol %) in TiO2 was carried out via sol-gel technique. Cu-TiO2 further calcined at various temperatures (in the range of 500–700 °C) to evaluate the thermal stability of TiO2 anatase phase. The physico-chemical properties of the samples were characterized through X-ray diffraction (XRD), Raman spectroscopy, X-ray photo-electron spectroscopy (XPS) and UV–visible spectroscopy techniques. XRD results revealed that the anatase phase of TiO2 was maintained well, up to 650 °C, by the Cu dopant. UV–vis results suggested that the visible light absorption property of Cu-TiO2 was enhanced and the band gap is reduced to 2.8 eV. Density functional theory (DFT) studies emphasize the introduction of Cu+ and Cu2+ ions by replacing Ti4+ ions in the TiO2 lattice, creating oxygen vacancies. These further promoted the photocatalytic efficiency. A significantly high bacterial inactivation (99.9999%) was attained in 30 min of visible light irradiation by Cu-TiO2. View Full-Text
Keywords: Cu-doped TiO2; doping; phase transition; Escherichia coli; Staphylococcus aureus; photocatalysis; antibacterial coatings Cu-doped TiO2; doping; phase transition; Escherichia coli; Staphylococcus aureus; photocatalysis; antibacterial coatings

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Mathew, S.; Ganguly, P.; Rhatigan, S.; Kumaravel, V.; Byrne, C.; Hinder, S.J.; Bartlett, J.; Nolan, M.; Pillai, S.C. Cu-Doped TiO2: Visible Light Assisted Photocatalytic Antimicrobial Activity. Appl. Sci. 2018, 8, 2067.

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