A review on the visible light active titanium dioxide photocatalysts for environmental applications

Miguel Pelaez, Nicholas T. Nolan, Suresh C. Pillai, Michael K. Seery, Polycarpos Falaras, Athanassios G. Kontos, Patrick S.M. Dunlop, Jeremy W.J. Hamilton, J. Anthony Byrne, Kevin O'Shea, Mohammad H. Entezari, Dionysios D. Dionysiou*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3234 Citations (Scopus)


Fujishima and Honda (1972) demonstrated the potential of titanium dioxide (TiO 2) semiconductor materials to split water into hydrogen and oxygen in a photo-electrochemical cell. Their work triggered the development of semiconductor photocatalysis for a wide range of environmental and energy applications. One of the most significant scientific and commercial advances to date has been the development of visible light active (VLA) TiO 2 photocatalytic materials. In this review, a background on TiO 2 structure, properties and electronic properties in photocatalysis is presented. The development of different strategies to modify TiO 2 for the utilization of visible light, including non metal and/or metal doping, dye sensitization and coupling semiconductors are discussed. Emphasis is given to the origin of visible light absorption and the reactive oxygen species generated, deduced by physicochemical and photoelectrochemical methods. Various applications of VLA TiO 2, in terms of environmental remediation and in particular water treatment, disinfection and air purification, are illustrated. Comprehensive studies on the photocatalytic degradation of contaminants of emerging concern, including endocrine disrupting compounds, pharmaceuticals, pesticides, cyanotoxins and volatile organic compounds, with VLA TiO 2 are discussed and compared to conventional UV-activated TiO 2 nanomaterials. Recent advances in bacterial disinfection using VLA TiO 2 are also reviewed. Issues concerning test protocols for real visible light activity and photocatalytic efficiencies with different light sources have been highlighted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)331-349
Number of pages19
JournalApplied Catalysis B: Environmental
Publication statusPublished - Aug 21 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Air purification
  • Anatase
  • Cyanotoxins
  • Disinfection
  • EDCs
  • Emerging pollutants
  • Environmental application
  • Metal doping
  • N-TiO
  • Non-metal doping
  • Photocatalysis
  • Photocatalytic
  • Reactive oxygen species
  • Rutile
  • Solar
  • TiO
  • Treatment
  • Visible
  • Water

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Process Chemistry and Technology


Dive into the research topics of 'A review on the visible light active titanium dioxide photocatalysts for environmental applications'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this