Nanotechnology in environmental remediation: Degradation of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) over visible-light-active nanostructured materials

Rengaraj Selvaraj*, Salma M.Z. Al-Kindy, Mika Silanpaa, Younghun Kim

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are major pollutants and are considered to be one of the most important contaminants generated by human beings living in urban and industrial areas. Methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE) is a VOC that has been widely used as a gasoline additive to reduce VOC emissions from motor vehicles. However, new gasoline additives like MTBE are having negative environmental impacts. Recent survey reports clearly show that groundwater is often polluted owing to leakage of petroleum products from underground storage tanks. MTBE is highly soluble in water (e.g., 0.35-0.71 M) and has been detected at high concentrations in groundwater. The presence of MTBE in groundwater poses a potential health problem. The documented effects of MTBE exposure are headaches, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, cough, muscle aches, sleepiness, disorientation, dizziness, and skin and eye irritation. To address these problems, photocatalytic treatment is the preferred treatment for polluted water. In the present work, a simple and template-free solution phase synthesis method has been developed for the preparation of novel cadmium sulfide (CdS) hollow microspheres using cadmium nitrate and thioacetamide precursors. The synthesized products have been characterized by a variety of methods, including X-ray powder diffraction, high-resolution scanning electron microscopy (HR-SEM), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, and UV-visible diffused reflectance spectroscopy. The HR-SEM measurements revealed the spherical morphology of the CdS microspheres, which evolved by the oriented aggregation of the primary CdS nanocrystals. Furthermore, studies of photocatalytic activity revealed that the synthesized CdS hollow microspheres exhibit an excellent photocatalytic performance in rapidly degrading MTBE in aqueous solution under visible light illumination. These results suggest that CdS microspheres will be an interesting candidate for photocatalytic detoxification studies under visible light radiation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-112
Number of pages4
JournalReviews on Environmental Health
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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