Photodegradation of Atrazine: A Comparison of Anatase and Brookite Phases of Titanium Dioxide

Leslie Sigmon


Anthropogenic contamination of water resources is one of the most pressing concerns facing our world today. As contaminants trend towards organic, endocrine-disrupting chemicals, generated by agricultural and industrial waste, the need for ever increasing maximum limits on pollutants has surfaced. These new contaminants can pose threats to human health at nearly molecular levels, and nanoparticles, with their diminutive scale, offer a solution to modern water pollution. Photocatalysis and subsequent photodegradation of contaminants using titanium dioxide nanoparticles has been previously investigated, including remediation of atrazine, the most common contaminant in United States drinking water. However, results have been varied and studies have been largely inconclusive, which is likely due to a lack of morphological consistency in titanium dioxide nanoparticles, as well as the restriction of previous studies to anatase-phase titanium dioxide nanoparticles. We propose to synthesize monodisperse brookite-phase titanium dioxide nanoparticles and use them to photodegrade atrazine within a standard photoreactor device. Synthesized particles will be characterized using scanning electron microscopy and X-ray powder diffraction. Their performance will be compared to standard anatase-phase titanium dioxide nanoparticles, and results will be analyzed with UV-visible absorption spectroscopy.


Photocatalysis; Atrazine; TiO2; Brookite

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