Cubic Cu2O nanoparticles decorated on TiO2 nanofiber heterostructure as an excellent synergistic photocatalyst for H2 production and sulfamethoxazole degradation

Karthikeyan Sekar, Chitiphon Chuaicham, Balakumar Vellaichamy, Wei Li, Wei Zhuang, Xiaohua Lu, Bunsho Ohtani, Keiko Sasaki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We report a simple strategy for providing a homogenous TiO2 nanofibre host environment to stabilize Cu2O nanoparticles with an average size of ∼60 nm and high dispersibility. We found that the small fraction of Cu2O nanoparticles in direct contact/partially submerged with TiO2 nanofibre arrays (diameter ∼300 nm and length ∼650 nm) showed excellent synergistic photocatalytic performance for H2 production rate of 48 μmol g−1 h-1 with an apparent quantum efficiency of 3.6 %. The H2 production rate was much higher (factor of ∼6.5 times) compared with unmodified TiO2-NF. In addition, the synergistic Cu2O/TiO2-NF photocatalyst showed significant oxidative-degradation of sulfamethoxazole (7 × 10-2 mmol g−1 min-1) and was highly stable during five cycles. The small fraction of Cu2O nanoparticles are well dispersed and form heterojunction interfaces to promote charge transfer and provide active sites. This argument is verified by morphology characterisation, band alignment, energy-resolved distribution of electron traps, electrochemical transient photocurrent, and electrochemical impedance (EIS). In addition, a detailed discussion is provided regarding the surface and bulk elemental composition determined by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), X-ray fluorescence (XRF), and X-ray absorption near edge structure (XANES).

Original languageEnglish
Article number120221
JournalApplied Catalysis B: Environmental
Publication statusPublished - Oct 5 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Catalysis
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Process Chemistry and Technology

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