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TiO2 Nanowires as Efficient Heterogeneous Photocatalysts for Waste-Water Treatment

Authors: Gul Afreen, Sreedevi Upadhyayula, Mahendra K. Sunkara


One-dimensional (1D) nanostructures like nanowires, nanotubes, and nanorods find variety of practical application owing to their unique physico-chemical properties. In this work, TiO2 nanowires were synthesized by direct oxidation of titanium particles in a unique microwave plasma jet reactor. The prepared TiO2 nanowires manifested the flexible features, and were characterized by using X-ray diffraction, Brunauer-Emmett-Teller (BET) surface area analyzer, UV-Visible and FTIR spectrophotometers, Scanning electron microscope, and Transmission electron microscope. Further, the photodegradation efficiency of these nanowires were tested against toxic organic dye like methylene blue (MB) and the results were compared with the commercial TiO2. It was found that TiO2 nanowires exhibited superior photocatalytic performance (89%) as compared to commercial TiO2 (75%) after 60 min of reaction. This is attributed to the lower recombination rate and increased interfacial charge transfer in TiO2 nanowire. Pseudo-first order kinetic modelling performed with the experimental results revealed that the rate constant of photodegradation in case of TiO2 nanowire was 1.3 times higher than that of commercial TiO2. Superoxide radical (O2˙) was found to be the major contributor in the photodegradation mechanism. Based on the trapping experiments, a plausible mechanism of the photocatalytic reaction is discussed.

Keywords: Heterogeneous catalysis, photodegradation, reactive oxygen species, TiO2 nanowires.

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