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Keywords:

  • decontamination;
  • doping;
  • photochemistry;
  • titania;
  • carbon

Abstract

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The degradation of chemical warfare agents is investigated. Active carbon, in minor quantities (5–25 wt %), renders nitrogen-doped titania active towards the degradation of several such compounds. This cooperative effect is attributed to the preferential generation of reactive oxygen species on the photocatalyst and preferential adsorption of the chemical warfare agent onto carbon.

Efficient photocatalytic decomposition of chemical warfare agents is a process that may find application in emergency situations or for the controlled destruction of chemical warfare stockpiles. A series of heterogeneous photocatalysts comprising TiO2–activated carbon or N-TiO2–activated carbon composites exhibit excellent photocatalytic activity to effect the complete decomposition of yperite, soman, and VX in high concentrations. The remarkable photocatalytic activity arises from the synergism between adsorption on active carbon and photoactivity by titania. Nitridation makes the composite also active under visible-light irradiation.