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Issue 3, 2006
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Photoelectrocatalytic disinfection of E. coli suspensions by iron doped TiO2

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Photoelectrocatalytic disinfection of E. coli by an iron doped TiO2 sol–gel electrode is shown to be more efficient than disinfection by the corresponding undoped electrode. Thus, the improvements in photocatalytic efficiency associated with selective doping have been combined with the electric field enhancement associated with the application of a small positive potential to a UV irradiated titanium dioxide electrode. The optimum disinfection rate corresponds to the replacement of ∼0.1% of the Ti atoms by Fe. The enhanced disinfection associated with iron doping is surprising because iron doping decreases the photocurrent, and photocurrent is generally taken to be a good indicator of photoelectrocatalytic efficiency. As the level of iron is increased, the character of the current–voltage curve changes and the enhancement of photocurrent associated with methanol addition decreases. This suggests that iron reduces the surface recombination which in the absence of iron is reduced by methanol. Therefore the enhanced photocatalysis is interpreted as due to iron reducing surface recombination, by trapping electrons. It is proposed that at low iron levels the photo-generated electrons are trapped at surface Fe(III) centres and that consequently, because the electron–hole recombination rate is reduced, the number of holes available for hydroxyl radical formation is increased. It is also proposed that at higher iron levels, the disinfection rate falls because electron hole recombination at iron centres in the lattice reduces the number of holes which reach the surface. Our conclusion that the optimum electrode performance is a balance between surface and bulk effects is consistent with the proposal, of earlier authors for photocatalytic reactions, that the optimum dopant level depends on the TiO2.

Graphical abstract: Photoelectrocatalytic disinfection of E. coli suspensions by iron doped TiO2

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Publication details

The article was received on 01 Jun 2005, accepted on 13 Oct 2005 and first published on 14 Nov 2005

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/B507516E
Citation: Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2006,8, 398-406

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    Photoelectrocatalytic disinfection of E. coli suspensions by iron doped TiO2

    T. A. Egerton, S. A. M. Kosa and P. A. Christensen, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2006, 8, 398
    DOI: 10.1039/B507516E

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