Surface characterisation and photocatalytic performance of N-doped TiO2 thin films deposited onto 200 nm pore size alumina membranes by sol-gel methods

R. Grilli, D. Di Camillo, L. Lozzi, I. Horovitz, H. Mamane, D. Avisar, M. A. Baker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Membrane filtration is employed for water treatment and wastewater reclamation purposes, but membranes alone are unable to remove pollutant molecules and certain pathogens. Photocatalytically active N-doped TiO2 coatings have been deposited by sol-gel onto 200 nm pore size alumina membranes for water treatment applications using two different methods, via pipette droplets or spiral bar applicator. The uncoated and coated membranes were characterised by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), X-ray diffraction (XRD) and energy dispersive X-ray spectrometry (EDX). Both coatings showed the presence of N-doped anatase, with a surface coverage between 84 and 92%, and nitrogen concentration (predominantly interstitial) of 0.9 at.%. The spiral bar applicator deposited coatings exhibit a thicker mud-cracked surface layer with limited penetration of the porous membrane, whilst the pipette deposited coatings have mostly penetrated into the bulk of the membrane and a thinner layer is present at the surface. The photocatalytic activity (PCA), measured through the degradation of carbamazepine (CBZ), under irradiation of a solar simulator was 58.6% for the pipette coating and 63.3% for the spiral bar coating. These photocatalytically active N-doped sol-gel coated membranes offer strong potential in forming the fundamental basis of a sunlight based water treatment system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-37
Number of pages13
JournalMaterials Chemistry and Physics
Volume159
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2015

Keywords

  • Electron microscopy (SEM)
  • Oxides
  • Sol-gel growth
  • Thin films
  • X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS)

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • General Materials Science

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