Synergic photocatalytic effects of nitrogen and niobium co-doping in TiO2 for the redox conversion of aquatic pollutants under visible light

Jonghun Lim, Palanichamy Murugan, Narayanan Lakshminarasimhan, Jae Young Kim, Jae Sung Lee, Sang Hyup Lee, Wonyong Choi

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76 Citations (Scopus)


Nitrogen and niobium co-doped TiO2 was synthesized by a simple sol-gel method and its visible light photocatalytic activities were compared with bare, N-, and Nb-doped TiO2. The synthesized photocatalysts were characterized by powder X-ray diffraction (XRD), diffuse reflectance UV-Visible absorption spectroscopy, FT-IR spectroscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, and energy-dispersive X-ray analysis. TiO2 co-doped with N and Nb can have unique properties distinguished from the singly doped TiO2 in the aspects of the dopant-induced charge distribution, vacancy sites, structural stability, defect energy levels, and optical absorption. The most notable is that the visible light absorption by (N,Nb)-TiO2 was significantly higher than either of N- or Nb-TiO2 sample. The doped samples exhibited a slight change in the band gap (by ∼0.1 eV) compared with bare TiO2, which could be confirmed by Tauc plot, Mott- Schottky plot, and the electronic structure calculation. The co-doping of N and Nb in TiO 2 induced the creation of the mid-gap levels and Ti3+ states that enhance the visible light absorption. The photocatalytic activities of bare, N-, Nb-, and (N,Nb)-TiO2 were compared for the photocatalytic degradation of 4-chlorophenol (4-CP), oxidation of iodide, and reduction of chromate (CrVI) in the aqueous phase under visible light (λ > 420 nm). For all tested substrates, (N,Nb)-TiO2 exhibited the markedly higher activities than either N-TiO2 or Nb-TiO2. A similar trend was also observed for the photocurrent generation under visible light irradiation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-99
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Catalysis
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Global Frontier R&D Program on Center for Multiscale Energy System (2011-0031571), the NRF EPB center (Grant No. 2008-0061892 ), the KCAP (Sogang University) funded by MEST through the National Research Foundation of Korea (No. 2012M1A2A2671779), and Korea Ministry of Environment as “Converging Technology Project” funded by KIST (2011000600001).

Copyright 2017 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Co-doping
  • Photocatalytic water purification
  • Solar catalysis
  • Visible light photocatalysts

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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