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‘Visible’ photocatalyst

By Tetsuo Satoh |

The research groups of Masahiro Miyauchi at Tokyo Institute of Technology (www.eim.ceram.titech.ac.jp) and Kazuhiko Hashimoto at the University of Tokyo (www.light.t.u-tokyo.ac.jp) have developed a photocatalyst that is highly active for the destruction of volatile organic compoiunds (VOCs) using visible radiation. The catalyst, a culmination of a five-year project supported by New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), opens the door for applications for photocatalytically destroying harmful VOCs in interiors of buildings and cars with visible light. The researchers converted photochemically inactive, oxygen-defective TiO2 — made by the thermal-oxidation of a mixture of Ti2O3 and TiO2 in air — into an efficient visible-light-sensitive photocatalyst by grafting the TiO2 surface with 2–3-nm clusters of amorphous cuperous oxide (CuO), which serves as a co-catalyst. This catalyst shows a ten-fold increase in reaction efficiency (with visible light) over conventional nitrogen-doped TiO2, and almost the same sensitivity as the ultraviolet sensitivity of commercially available anatase-type TiO2. For example, with the new catalyst, gaseous 2-propanol is decomposed into CO2 under visible radiation…
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