Au-decorated sodium titanate nanotubes as high-performance selective photocatalysts for pollutant degradation

Waleed M. A. El Rouby, Miguel Comesaña-Hermo, Martín Testa-Anta, Enrique Carbó-Argibay, Verónica Salgueiriño, Moisés Pérez-Lorenzo, and Miguel A. Correa-Duarte
J. Phys. D: Appl. Phys. 2017, 50, 144002


The bioaccumulation of polycyclic aromatic compounds originating from textile processing industries is nowadays a major environmental problem worldwide. In order to tackle this situation, several inorganic semiconductors have been tested as photocatalysts for the degradation of these harmful pollutants in the search of sustainable and cost-effective solutions. Nevertheless, these semiconductor materials often involve important limitations, such as poor efficiency and selectivity, which, in the end, substantially restrict their implementation at the industrial scale. As an alternative, we herein report the fabrication and application of Au-decorated titanate nanotubes (TNTs) as high-performance architectures for the selective degradation of organic contaminants. This synthetic strategy is intended to establish a synergetic integration of the physicochemical and photocatalytic features of these hybrid nanostructures, by combining the remarkable adsorption capabilities of TNTs with the enhanced light-harvesting efficiency provided by the incorporation of a noble metal component. The obtained results evidence the great potential that rationally designed plasmonic composites may have for the development of selective environmental remediation technologies and in particular on the current challenges faced by the wastewater treatment sector.