Photocatalytic decomposition of cortisone acetate in aqueous solution.
In order to investigate sustainable alternatives to current water treatment methods, the effect of NF-titania film thickness and subsequent photocatalysis in combination with oxidants was examined under simulated solar light. Such a combination presents a theoretical possibility for a synergistic interaction between the photocatalyst and the oxidant (activation of the oxidant by the catalyst under conditions under which it may not conventionally be activated). To investigate, peroxymonosulfate (PMS) and persulfate (PS) were used as oxidants, and two pesticides, amitrole and atrazine, were used as target contaminants. In the absence of a film, activation of PMS under simulated solar conditions is demonstrated by removal of atrazine, whereas PS provided minimal removal, suggesting inefficient activation. Combining photocatalytic films with PMS and PS manifested synergies for both oxidants. The effect was most pronounced for PS since PMS already underwent significant activation without the photocatalyst. Amitrole degradation results indicated a lack of removal of amitrole by activated PS alone, suggesting that this sulfate radical-based treatment technology may be ineffective for the removal of amitrole. The NF-TiO₂ films demonstrated reusability under solar light both with and without oxidants. Finally, the degradation intermediates were analyzed, and a new intermediate appeared upon incorporating oxidants into the system.