Enhanced photocatalytic activity of anatase-TiO2 nanoparticles by fullerene modification: A theoretical and experimental study

Kezhen Qi, Rengaraj Selvaraj*, Tharaya Al Fahdi, Salma Al-Kindy, Younghun Kim, Gui Chang Wang, Cheuk Wai Tai, Mika Sillanpää

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Citations (Scopus)


A series of fullerene (C60)-modified anatase TiO2 (a-TiO2) nanocomposites with different weight loadings of C60 were successfully synthesized by a simple solution phase method. The as-prepared C60@a-TiO2 nanocomposites were characterized by X-ray diffraction (XRD), Raman spectroscopy, Brunauer-Emmett-Teller (BET), UV–vis diffuse reflectance absorption spectra (DRS), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and electron energy loss spectroscopy (EELS). The photocatalytic degradation of methylene blue (MB) by the neat a-TiO2 and C60@a-TiO2 nanocomposites was investigated under UV-A light irradiation, demonstrating that C60 effectively enhances the photocatalytic activity of a-TiO2 nanoparticles with an optimal amount of 2.0 wt%. By combining with the density functional theory (DFT) calculations, we investigated the electronic structures of C60@a-TiO2 hetero-interfaces to reveal the underlying principle of the C60 loading on the photocatalytic activity. It was found that the incorporation of C60 on the a-TiO2 surface not only narrowed the band gap, but also introduced an additional doping state between the valance and conduction band. Therefore, the presence of intermediate electronic state will in turn contribute to the efficient charge separation and enhanced light adsorption for the C60@a-TiO2 nanocomposites, resulting in an improved photocatalytic performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)750-758
Number of pages9
JournalApplied Surface Science
Publication statusPublished - Nov 30 2016


  • Anatase nanoparticles
  • DFT calculation
  • Fullerene modification
  • Photocatalyst

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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