Iiiphotocatalytic Degradation Of Hazardous Wastes In Colloidal Semiconductor Sols

The results of the studies devoted to the splitting of water by solar light in the presence of semiconductors form the basis for the photocatalytic degradation of the toxic pollutant species in aqueous solutions in the presence of semiconductor particles [18]. Stated briefly, when selected semiconductor particles are illuminated with the proper light source, the absorption of light is followed by the formation of electron-hole pairs at the surface of the semiconductor particle. The excited electron-hole pairs thus created will react with the adsorbed species on

Figure 2 Microheterogeneous media.

the surface of the semiconductor. It has been shown that under certain circumstances adsorbed water will also oxidize to oxygen. The efficiency of this photodecomposition of water is insufficient to develop an economically viable process for the conversion of solar energy into hydrogen fuel. However, the photogenerated electron-hole pairs at the surface of the semiconductors can oxidize a number of species present in the solution rather efficiently [7-9,19-37]. Many of the species observed to degrade under these conditions are included in the EPA list of priority pollutants. Thus, the scientific basis for the photocatalytic degradation of hazardous species was established. Though a toxic waste treatment process based on this phenomenon has not yet been built, the photocatalytic degradation of toxic pollutants at the surface of semiconductor particles has the potential for an energy-efficient and safe waste management process commensurate with the economy of disposal.

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