Visible light photocatalytic activity of macro-mesoporous TiO2-CeO2 inverse opals

Roberto Fiorenza, Marianna Bellardita, Tarek Barakat, Salvatore Scirè, Leonardo Palmisano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Macro-mesoporous TiO2 inverse opal materials were synthesized and they were tested as photocatalysts under visible light irradiation. The influence of cerium oxide addition towards the Rhodamine B (RhB) photodegradation activity was evaluated. Structural, textural, spectral and surface properties of the TiO2-CeO2 inverse opal nanocomposites were studied by XRD, XPS, SEM, TEM, N2 adsorption-desorption, Diffuse Reflectance UV–vis and Photoluminescence spectroscopies. Compared to commercial TiO2 anatase, the macro-mesoporous TiO2 inverse opal exhibited six times higher kinetic rate constant in the RhB degradation under visible light irradiation. The good photocatalytic activity was related to the peculiar structure of this material, providing higher active surface area and enhancement of the mass transfer phenomena due to a very significant porosity. A positive effect of ceria addition was observed in terms of increased photocatalytic activity (73% of RhB degradation after 120 min of irradiation) when the amount of the CeO2 was low (up to 3% wt). Moreover the TiO2-3%CeO2 exhibited the lowest photoluminescence band intensity among all samples, indicating that the best efficiency in the charge carriers separation occurs in this catalyst. The presence of Ce3+ species was favoured for small amounts of cerium oxide, resulting in a positive effect on the photoactivity. The mutual interaction between Ti and Ce metal cations promotes an easier charge transfer on the surface, accelerating in particular the Ce4+/Ce3+ redox process that is beneficial for the oxidation reactions. On the contrary the use of high amounts of cerium oxide (>5% wt) led to a progressive agglomeration of CeO2, thus increasing the crystal size of TiO2-CeO2 particles (from 27 to 33 nm) and favouring the coverage of TiO2 active sites. This work reports the preparation and some photoactivity tests of some visible light responsive nanomaterials for an efficient solar energy utilization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-34
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Photochemistry and Photobiology A: Chemistry
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2018


  • Advanced oxidation process
  • Cerium oxide
  • Photocatalysis
  • Photonic effect
  • Porous structures
  • Rhodamine B
  • Titanium dioxide


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