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Cu Doped TiO2: Visible Light Assisted Photocatalytic Antimicrobial Activity and High Temperature Anatase Stability

submitted on 03.10.2018 and posted on 03.10.2018 by Snehamol Mathew, Priyanka Ganguly, Stephen Rhatigan, Vignesh Kumaravel, Ciara Byrne, Steven Hinder, John Bartlett, Michael Nolan, Suresh Pillai
Indoor surface contamination by microbes is a major public health concern. A damp environment is one potential sources for microbe proliferation. Smart photocatalytic coatings on building surfaces using semiconductors like titania (TiO2) can effectively curb this growing threat. Metal-doped titania in anatase phase has been proved as a promising candidate for energy and environmental applications. In this present work, the antimicrobial efficacy of copper (Cu) doped TiO2 (Cu-TiO2) was evaluated against Escherichia coli (Gram-negative) and Staphylococcus aureus (Gram-positive) under visible light irradiation. Doping of a minute fraction of Cu (0.5 mol %) in TiO2 was carried out via sol-gel technique. Cu-TiO2 further calcined at various temperatures (in the range of 500 °C – 700 °C) to evaluate the thermal stability of TiO2 anatase phase. The physico-chemical properties of the samples were characterised through X-ray diffraction (XRD), Raman spectroscopy, X-ray photo-electron spectroscopy (XPS) and UV-visible spectroscopy techniques. XRD results revealed that the anatase phase of TiO2 was maintained well, up to 650 °C, by the Cu dopant. UV-DRS results suggested that the visible light absorption property of Cu-TiO2 was enhanced and the band gap is reduced to 2.8 eV. Density functional theory (DFT) studies emphasises the introduction of Cu+ and Cu2+ ions by replacing Ti4+ ions in the TiO2 lattice, creating oxygen vacancies. These further promoted the photocatalytic efficiency. A significantly high bacterial inactivation (99.9%) was attained in 30 mins of visible light irradiation by Cu-TiO2.


European Unions INTERREG VA Programme, Science Foundation Ireland, IT Sligo President's Bursary


Email Address of Submitting Author


Tyndall Institute, UCC



ORCID For Submitting Author


Declaration of Conflict of Interest

No conflict of interest

Version Notes

Submitted version