Single atom Cu(I) promoted mesoporous titanias for photocatalytic Methyl Orange depollution and H2 production

Rima Trofimovaite, Christopher M.A. Parlett, Santosh Kumar, Lucia Frattini, Mark A. Isaacs, Karen Wilson, Luca Olivi, Ben Coulson, Joyashish Debgupta, Richard E. Douthwaite, Adam F. Lee*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Tailoring the physicochemical properties and hence reactivity of semiconductor photocatalysts in a predictable fashion, remains a challenge to their industrial application. Here we demonstrate the striking promotional effect of incorporating single Cu(I) atoms, on aqueous phase photocatalytic dye degradation and H2 production over surfactant-templated mesoporous TiO2. X-ray absorption spectroscopy reveals that ultra-low concentrations of copper (0.02–0.1 wt%) introduced into the mesoporous TiO2 surface create isolated Cu (I) species which suppress charge recombination, and confer a six-fold photocatalytic promotion of Methyl Orange degradation and four-fold enhancement of H2 evolution. The impact of mesopore structure and photophysical properties on photocatalytic activity is also quantified for the first time: calcination increases mesopore size and nanocrystalline order, and induces an anatase to rutile phase transition that is accompanied by a decrease in the optical band gap, increased charge carrier lifetime, and a concomitant significant activity enhancement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)501-511
Number of pages11
Early online date22 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sept 2018

Bibliographical note

© Elsevier, 2018. This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy.


  • Copper
  • Mesoporous
  • Photocatalysis
  • Titania
  • XAS

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