Single atom Cu(I) promoted mesoporous titanias for photocatalytic Methyl Orange depollution and H 2 production

Rima Trofimovaite, Christopher M.a. Parlett, Santosh Kumar, Lucia Frattini, Mark A. Isaacs, Karen Wilson, Luca Olivi, Ben Coulson, Joyashish Debgupta, Richard E. Douthwaite, Adam F. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Tailoring the physicochemical properties and hence reactivity of semiconductor photocatalysts in a predictable fashion, remains a challenge to their industrial application. Here we demonstrate the striking promotional effect of incorporating single Cu(I) atoms, on aqueous phase photocatalytic dye degradation and H2 production over surfactant-templated mesoporous TiO2. X-ray absorption spectroscopy reveals that ultra-low concentrations of copper (0.02-0.1 wt%) introduced into the mesoporous TiO2 surface create isolated Cu (I) species which suppress charge recombination, and confer a six-fold photocatalytic promotion of Methyl Orange degradation and four-fold enhancement of H2 evolution. The impact of mesopore structure and photophysical properties on photocatalytic activity is also quantified for the first time: calcination increases mesopore size and nanocrystalline order, and induces an anatase to rutile phase transition that is accompanied by a decrease in the optical band gap, increased charge carrier lifetime, and a concomitant significant activity enhancement.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)501-511
JournalApplied Catalysis B: Environmental
Early online date22 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sept 2018

Bibliographical note

© 2018, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International

Funding: EPSRC (EP/K021796/1 and EP/K029525/2)


  • photocatalysis
  • titania
  • mesoporous
  • copper
  • XAS


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