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1 Zeolite Supported Iron-Sensitized TIO₂ for Tetracycline Photocatalytic ‎Degradation under Visible Light: A Comparison between Doping and Ion ‎Exchange ‎

Authors: Ghadeer Jalloul, Nour Hijazi, Cassia Boyadjian, Hussein Awala, Mohammad N. Ahmad, ‎Ahmad Albadarin


In this study, we applied Fe-sensitized TiO₂ supported over embryonic Beta zeolite (BEA) zeolite ‎for the photocatalytic degradation of Tetracycline (TC) antibiotic under visible light. Four different ‎samples having 20, 40, 60, and 100% w/w as a ratio of TiO₂/BEA were prepared. The ‎immobilization of solgel TiO₂ (33 m²/g) over BEA (390 m²/g) increased its surface area to (227 ‎m²/g) and enhanced its adsorption capacity from 8% to 19%. To expand the activity of TiO₂ ‎photocatalyst towards the visible light region (λ>380 nm), we explored two different metal ‎sensitization techniques with Iron ions (Fe³⁺). In the ion-exchange method, the substitutional cations ‎in the zeolite in TiO₂/BEA were exchanged with (Fe³⁺) in an aqueous solution of FeCl₃. In the ‎doping technique, solgel TiO₂ was doped with (Fe³⁺) from FeCl₃ precursor during its synthesis and ‎before its immobilization over BEA. (Fe-TiO₂/BEA) catalysts were characterized using SEM, XRD, ‎BET, UV-VIS DRS, and FTIR. After testing the performance of the various ion-exchanged catalysts ‎under blue and white lights, only (Fe-TiO₂/BEA 60%) showed better activity as compared to pure ‎TiO₂ under white light with 100 ppm initial catalyst concentration and 20 ppm TC concentration. As ‎compared to ion-exchanged (Fe-TiO₂/BEA), doped (Fe-TiO₂/BEA) resulted in higher photocatalytic ‎efficiencies under blue and white lights. The 3%-Fe-doped TiO₂/BEA removed 92% of TC ‎compared to 54% by TiO₂ under white light. The catalysts were also tested under real solar ‎irradiations. This improvement in the photocatalytic performance of TiO₂ was due to its higher ‎adsorption capacity due to BEA support combined with the presence of Iron ions that enhance the ‎visible light absorption and minimize the recombination effect by the charge carriers. ‎

Keywords: Tetracycline, photocatalytic degradation, immobilized TiO₂, zeolite, iron-doped TiO₂, ion-exchange

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