Enhancement of TOC removal efficiency of sulfamethoxazole using catalysts in the radiation treatment: Effects of band structure and electrical properties of radiocatalysts

Kang Lee, Tae Hun Kim, Tak Hyun Kim, Jaesang Lee, Seungho Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Photocatalysts in AOP have been used for the decomposition of recalcitrant organic pollutants. However, several technical issues associated with energy band gap of catalysts still limit the practical application of photocatalysts with sunlight and UV. Some catalysts with large energy band gap have been successfully used in the radiocatalytic systems using gamma radiation and electron beam. However, there has been little systematic studies for band structure and electrical properties of an appropriate radiocatalyst in the radiation treatment. Kinetic studies were conducted to evaluate the properties (conduction band, valence band, energy band gap, electron mobility, and stability) of catalysts suitable for the radiocatalytic system using high energy sources and the radiocatalytic oxidation performance for sulfamethoxazole (SMX). The lower the CB potential and/or the higher the VB potential was, the higher the oxidation performance of a catalyst was. Unlike the photocatalytic process (activating the catalysts with energy band gaps lower than 6.2 eV), the radiation system using a gamma ray could activate the catalyst with a comparatively large energy band gap (<1,240 keV). TOC removal efficiency for SMX (30 mg/L) with Al2O3 (2 g/L) as a radiocatalyst was enhanced up to 83.9 % at an absorbed dose of 5 kGy, compared to the control (radiation treatment without catalysts) showing 6.6 % TOC removal efficiency at the same condition. The stabilities of metal oxide catalysts were much higher (low self-degradation of 0.0006–0.01 % at 50 kGy) than those (0.07–0.44 % at 50 kGy) of metal sulfide catalysts. Since S2− is less electronegative than O2−, the VB holes of metal sulfide catalyst are more prone to self-degradation. The radiation technology has a wide range of selection for catalysts, and can be an effective alternative-treatment system for the mineralization of recalcitrant organic chemicals.

Original languageEnglish
Article number123390
JournalSeparation and Purification Technology
Publication statusPublished - 2023 May 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by the Nuclear R&D program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Science and ICT (NRF-2018M2A2B3A06071696), and the Korea Institute of Planning and Evaluation for Technology in Food, Agriculture and Forestry (IPET) through Livestock Industrialization Technology Development Program (of Project) funded by Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (MAFRA) (321087-5).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Author(s)


  • Band structure
  • Catalyst
  • Mineralization
  • Radiation
  • Sulfamethoxazole

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Filtration and Separation


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