Enhancing Solar Light-Driven Photocatalytic Activity of Mesoporous Carbon-TiO2 Hybrid Films via Upconversion Coupling

Hannah Kwon, Filipe Marques Mota, Kyungwha Chung, Yu Jin Jang, Jerome K. Hyun, Jiseok Lee, Dong Ha Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Solar energy conversion has emerged as an attractive pathway in the decomposition of hazardous organic pollutants. Herein, tridoped β-NaYF4:Yb3+,Tm3+,Gd3+ upconversion (UC) nanorods were embedded in a carbon-doped mesostructured TiO2 hybrid film using triblock copolymer P123 acting as a mesoporous template and carbon source. The photoactivity of our novel material was reflected in the degradation of nitrobenzene, as a representative organic waste. The broad-band absorption of our rationally designed UC nanorod-embedded C-doped TiO2 in the UV to NIR range unveiled a remarkable increase in nitrobenzene degradation (83%) within 3 h compared with pristine TiO2 (50%) upon light irradiation. These results establish for the first time a synergetic bridge between the effects of a creative photon trapping TiO2 architecture, improved NIR light-harvesting efficiency upon UC nanorod incorporation, and a simultaneous decrease in the band gap energy and increased visible light absorption by C-doping of the oxide lattice. The resulting nanostructure was believed to favor efficient charge and energy transfer between the photocatalyst components and to reduce charge recombination. Our novel hybrid nanostructure and its underlined synthesis strategy reflect a promising route to improve solar energy utilization in environmental remediation and in a wide range of photocatalytic applications, e.g., water splitting, CO2 reutilization, and production of fuels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1310-1317
Number of pages8
JournalACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2 Jan 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 American Chemical Society.


  • Carbon-TiO hybrid
  • Nitrobenzene degradation
  • Solar energy
  • TiO mesostructure
  • UV-vis-NIR photocatalysis
  • Upconversion nanoparticles


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