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Light-Induced Efficient Molecular Oxygen Activation on a Cu(II)-Grafted TiO2/Graphene Photocatalyst for Phenol Degradation

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journal contribution
posted on 28.01.2015, 00:00 by Hui Zhang, Liang-Hong Guo, Dabin Wang, Lixia Zhao, Bin Wan
An efficient photocatalytic process involves two closely related steps: charge separation and the subsequent surface redox reaction. Herein, a ternary hybrid photocatalytic system was designed and fabricated by anchoring Cu­(II) clusters onto a TiO2/reduced graphene oxide (RGO) composite. Microscopic and spectroscopic characterization revealed that both TiO2 nanoparticles and Cu­(II) clusters were highly dispersed on a graphene sheet with intimate interfacial contact. Compared with pristine TiO2, the TiO2/RGO/Cu­(II) composite yielded an almost 3-fold enhancement in the photodegradation rate toward phenol degradation under UV irradiation. Electron spin resonance (ESR) spectra and electrochemical measurements demonstrated that the improved photocatalytic activity of this ternary system benefitted from the synergetic effect between RGO and Cu­(II), which facilitates the interfacial charge transfer and simultaneously achieves in situ generation of H2O2 via two-electron reduction of O2. These results highlight the importance to harmonize the charge separation and surface reaction process in achieving high photocatalytic efficiency for practical application.