Doping TiO2 with CuSO4 enhances visible light photocatalytic activity for organic pollutant degradation

  • Mark Daniel G. de Luna
  • Sergi Garcia-Segura
  • Chinee H. Mercado
  • Yao-Tung Lin
  • Ming-Chun LuEmail author
Recent Advances and Novel Concepts in Environmental Technologies


Photocatalysis is one of the most promising advanced oxidation processes due to the capability of solid catalyst to continuously produce oxidant species under light irradiation. The use of conventional UV lamps is high cost intensive, which undermines the possible implementation in developing countries. Visible light active photocatalysts can overcome these challenges and find a market opportunity for competitive technology implementation. This work proposes the synthesis of visible light active catalyst following a facile sol-gel synthesis that introduces CuSO4 as dopant in TiO2. Results present complete abatement of methylene blue in 120 min of treatment under 50 mW cm−2 of blue light (λ = 450 nm), while commercial P25 TiO2 presented null abatement under identical conditions. Synthesis parameters including dopant level and calcination temperature allowed defining optimum synthesis conditions based on material characteristics modification and catalytic activity enhancement. A doping level of 0.21 mol% CuSO4 was identified as optimum condition to enable visible light photocatalysis of doped TiO2 catalysts calcined at 300 °C. Finally, operational parameters were evaluated defining a wide range of pH operation under 3.0 g L−1 of catalyst dose to treat up to 20 g L−1 of highly recalcitrant phenothiazine dye. These optimum conditions allowed complete dye removal under visible light after 120 min of treatment.


Persistent organic pollutants Wastewater treatment Visible light photocatalyst Nanotechnology Advanced oxidation process 


Funding information

This research was supported by the Ministry of Science and Technology, Taiwan (NSC 101-2923-E-041-001-MY2) and the Engineering Research and Development for Technology—Department of Science and Technology, Philippines.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark Daniel G. de Luna
    • 1
    • 2
  • Sergi Garcia-Segura
    • 3
  • Chinee H. Mercado
    • 2
  • Yao-Tung Lin
    • 4
  • Ming-Chun Lu
    • 5
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Chemical Engineering, College of EngineeringUniversity of the PhilippinesQuezon CityPhilippines
  2. 2.Environmental Engineering Program, National Graduate School of EngineeringUniversity of the PhilippinesQuezon CityPhilippines
  3. 3.Nanosystems Engineering Research Center for Nanotechnology-Enabled Water Treatment, School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built EnvironmentArizona State UniversityTempeUSA
  4. 4.Department of Soil and Environmental SciencesNational Chung Hsing UniversityTaichungTaiwan
  5. 5.Department of Environmental Resources ManagementChia Nan University of Pharmacy and ScienceTainanTaiwan

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