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International Journal of Photoenergy
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 1604753, 9 pages
Research Article

Synergetic Enhancement of the Photocatalytic Activity of TiO2 with Visible Light by Sensitization Using a Novel Push-Pull Zinc Phthalocyanine

1Centro de Investigación en Dispositivos Semiconductores, Instituto de Ciencias BUAP, 14 Sur y Av. San Claudio, Ciudad Universitaria, A.P. 196, 72000 Puebla, PUE, Mexico
2Facultad de Ingeniería Química-BUAP. Av. San Claudio, Ciudad Universitaria, 72570 Puebla, PUE, Mexico
3Lab. Catálisis y Materiales, ESIQIE-Instituto Politécnico Nacional, Zacatenco, 07738, México City, Mexico
4Facultad de Ciencias Biotecnoambientales, UPAEP, 21 Sur 1103 Barrio Santiago, 72410 Puebla, PUE, Mexico

Correspondence should be addressed to J. L. Sosa-Sánchez

Received 12 August 2016; Revised 26 November 2016; Accepted 12 December 2016; Published 10 January 2017

Academic Editor: Ying Dai

Copyright © 2017 A. Luna-Flores 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.


A new one-pot synthesis of a novel A3B-type asymmetric zinc phthalocyanine (AZnPc) was developed. The phthalocyanine complex was characterized unambiguously and used to prepare a TiO2 hybrid photocatalyst to enhance its photocatalytic activity in the visible range. Different compositions of the phthalocyanine dye were tested in order to find the optimum amount of sensitizer to get the highest activity during the photocatalytic tests. The hybrid photocatalyst was characterized by UV-Vis diffuse reflectance (DRS) and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR) and its photocatalytic activity was compared with that of the individual components considering the effects of sensitization on their efficiency to degrade Rhodamine B as a model reaction. A synergic improvement of the photocatalytic activity for the hybrid system was explained in terms of an improved electron injection from the photo-activated phthalocyanine to the TiO2. Considering the structural features of the phthalocyanine sensitizer and their effect on aggregation, some mechanistic aspects of its binding to TiO2 are suggested to account for the photocatalytic activity enhancement. Finally, the inhibitory effect on the sprouting of chia seeds (Salvia hispanica) was evaluated in order to test the toxicity of the water effluent obtained after the photodegradation process. According to our growth inhibition assays, it was found that the Rh-B degradation by-products do not lead to an acute toxicity.