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Journal of Catalysts
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 178512, 9 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/178512
Research Article

Tuning the Photocatalytic Activity and Optical Properties of Mesoporous TiO2 Spheres by a Carbon Scaffold

1Instituto Nacional del Carbón (INCAR), Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), C/ Francisco Pintado Fe 26, 33011 Oviedo, Asturias, Spain
2Institut de Science des Matériaux de Mulhouse (IS2M), LRC CNRS 7228 UHA, 68057 Mulhouse, France

Received 9 August 2012; Accepted 23 October 2012

Academic Editor: Hicham Idriss

Copyright © 2013 Leticia F. Velasco et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

The photoelectrochemical response and catalytic efficiency towards phenol photooxidation of mesoporous titania particles with spherical morphology have been explored. The catalysts were synthesized in two different arrangements using carbon spheres in a dual role as support and morphology director: hollow spherical titania particles and dense structures where the titania shell is surrounding a carbon core. Although the synthesized titania hollow spheres exhibited a similar photoelectrochemical behavior and optical properties than commercial P25, they showed a better photocatalytic response towards phenol photo-oxidation in terms of pollutant mineralization. This behavior cannot be explained in terms of the crystallinity (found to be higher for P25) and has been attributed to both confinement effects in the mesoporosity of these catalysts as well as to the spherical morphology of titania particles. The spherical arrangement of the titania surface would favor the fast motion of the charge carriers and minimize recombination processes. On the other hand, no clear contribution of the carbon phase to the enhanced photocatalytic response, since quite similar performance is observed for the hollow spheres and the core/shell composite. However, separation and filtration of the catalysts become easier for the carbon/titania composite, thereby improving the so-called practical efficiency.