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Chemosphere. 2007 Jan;66(5):930-8. Epub 2006 Jul 21.

Enhanced photocatalytic reduction reaction over Bi(3+)-TiO(2) nanoparticles in presence of formic acid as a hole scavenger.

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Department of Civil and Structural Engineering, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong SAR, PR China; Nuclear Chemistry Research Division, Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute, Daejeon 305-600, Republic of Korea.


A series of Bi(3+)-doped TiO(2) (Bi(3+)-TiO(2)) catalysts with a doping concentration up to 2wt% were prepared by a sol-gel method. The prepared photocatalysts were characterized by different means to determine their chemical composition, surface structure and light absorption properties. The photocatalytic activity of different Bi(3+)-TiO(2) catalysts was evaluated in the photocatalytic reduction of nitrate in aqueous solution under UV illumination. In the experiments, formic acid was used as a hole scavenger to enhance the photocatalytic reduction reaction. The experiments demonstrated that nitrate was effectively degraded in aqueous Bi(3+)-TiO(2) suspension by more than 83% within 150min, while the pH of the solution increased from 3.19 to 5.83 due to the consumption of formic acid. The experimental results indicate that the presence of Bi(3+) in TiO(2) catalysts substantially enhances the photocatalytic reaction of nitrate reduction. It was found that the optimal dosage of 1.5wt% Bi(3+) in TiO(2) achieved the fastest reaction of nitrate reduction under the experimental condition. Bismuth ions deposit on the TiO(2) surface behaves as sites where electrons accumulate. Better separation of electrons and holes on the modified TiO(2) surface allows more efficient channeling of the charge carriers into useful reduction and oxidation reactions rather than recombination reactions. Two intermediate products of nitrite and ammonia during the reaction were also monitored to explore the possible mechanisms of photoluminescence quenching and photocatalytic reduction in the context of donor-acceptor interaction with electron trapping centers.

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