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    Novel and versatile tio2 thin films on pet for photocatalytic removal of contaminants of emerging concern from water

    Marcelino, Rafaela BP, Amorim, Camila C, Ratova, Marina, Delfour-Peyrethon, Brice and Kelly, Peter (2019) Novel and versatile tio2 thin films on pet for photocatalytic removal of contaminants of emerging concern from water. Chemical Engineering Journal, 370. pp. 1251-1261. ISSN 1385-8947

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    The current work presents new and versatile photocatalytic surfaces designed to remove contaminants of emerging concerns (CECs) from water. Photocatalytic thin films of titanium dioxide (TiO2) were deposited on a polyethylene terephthalate (PET) surface (PET-TiO2) and photosensitized by a natural and non-hazardous curcumin (turmeric). The TiO2 thin film was deposited in a single stage and solvent-free process, without thermal post treatment, using the high power impulse magnetron sputtering (HiPIMS) technique. The photocatalytic film was characterized by different techniques (SEM/EDS, STEM, AFM, UV–Vis spectroscopy, and wettability via water droplet contact angle). The photocatalytic activity was assessed by the degradation of two model CECs: the fungicide carbendazim (CBZ), used in different crops around the world (coffee, rice, fruits, etc.), and the anthropogenic pollution tracer caffeine (CAF). Removal of these model CECs of up to 39% were achieved under combined UV and visible irradiation under 7 h photocatalytic treatments. The degradation process was further studied by dissolved organic carbon analysis, with up to 80% removal, and acute ecotoxicity tests with Aliivibrio fischeri, indicating reduction of toxicity or non-change. The PET-TiO2 surfaces remained stable for 5 consecutive cycles of use, with similar kinetic rates. Finally, the species involved in photocatalytic reactions were investigated by the use of h+, HO and O2− trapping agents, both in the presence and absence of turmeric. The results indicated that the addition of the turmeric led to an increase in photogenerated O2− radicals due to a synergistic effect between the photocatalyst and photosensitizer. The results demonstrate the potential of the PET-TiO2 surfaces as a straightforward solution for the removal of CECs from waters, using a flexible, scalable, reusable and environmental friendly photocatalytic material.

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