Catalytic role of surface oxygens in TiO2 photooxidation reactions: Aqueous benzene photooxidation with Ti18O2 under anaerobic conditions

Juan Felipe Montoya, Irina Ivanova, Ralf Dillert, Detlef W. Bahnemann, Pedro Salvador, José Peral

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51 Citations (Scopus)


The important role played in TiO2 heterogeneous photocatalysis by the two-fold-coordinated TiO2 surface bridging oxygens (>Os2- or >OHs-) has been emphasized. Their ability to trap photogenerated holes and to act as main oxidizing agents, leaving the surface of the catalyst and being part of the intermediates and final reaction products, is probed by using isotopic labeling reactions. In particular, we have studied the aqueous photocatalytic mineralization of benzene in anaerobic conditions using Ti18O2 as the photocatalyst. The reaction evolution has been followed by analysis of the concentration and the isotopic composition of CO2, the final product of benzene photooxidation. The unique features of this experimental system provide the opportunity for in situ tracing of the fate of >Os2- or >OHs- species during the photocatalytic reaction. Experimental evidence shows that those oxygen atoms are incorporated into CO2. Participation of surface-trapped holes (-OHs•/-Os•-) and the incorporation of surface oxygens into the oxidation products prove the main role played by those species in TiO2-assisted photocatalytic processes. © 2013 American Chemical Society.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1415-1422
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry Letters
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2 May 2013


  • benzene photooxidation
  • oxygen-isotope-labeled titania
  • photocatalysis reaction mechanism
  • surface oxygens
  • Ti O 18 2


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