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Photocatalytic defluorination of perfluorooctanoic acid by surface defective BiOCl: Fast microwave solvothermal synthesis and photocatalytic mechanisms

Sun, Yuanyuan, Li, Guiying, Wang, Wanjun, Gu, Wenquan, Wong, Po Keung, An, Taicheng
Journal of environmental sciences (China) 2019 v.84 pp. 69-79
energy, hydroxyl radicals, irradiation, lighting, microwave treatment, oxidation, oxygen, perfluorooctanoic acid, photocatalysis, photocatalysts, risk, solar radiation
There is an urgent need for developing cost-effective methods for the treatment of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) due to its global emergence and potential risks. In this study, taking surface-defective BiOCl as an example, a strategy of surface oxygen vacancy modulation was used to promote the photocatalytic defluorination efficiency of PFOA under simulated sunlight irradiation. The defective BiOCl was fabricated by a fast microwave solvothermal method, which was found to induce more surface oxygen vacancies than conventional solvothermal and precipitation methods. As a result, the as-prepared BiOCl showed significantly enhanced defluorination efficiency, which was 2.7 and 33.8 times higher than that of BiOCl fabricated by conventional solvothermal and precipitation methods, respectively. Mechanistic studies indicated that the defluorination of PFOA follows a direct hole (h+) oxidation pathway with the aid of •OH, while the oxygen vacancies not only promote charge separation but also facilitate the intimate contact between the photocatalyst surface and PFOA by coordinating with its terminal carboxylate group in a bidentate or bridging mode. This work will provide a general strategy of oxygen vacancy modulation by microwave-assisted methods for efficient photocatalytic defluorination of PFOA in the environment using sunlight as the energy source.