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Current Affairs

Photocatalyst to degrade organic pollutants

Date: 06 October 2019 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

Researchers at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Pune have successfully converted the highly unstable perovskite into a highly stable photocatalyst capable of decomposing toxic organic pollutants commonly present in water.

 

Background

This is the first time perovskite-based composite material as a photocatalyst has been used for the degradation of toxic organic pollutants such as antibiotics, dyes etc. It will be a cost-effective method to produce clean water.

 

Details

  • The researchers tested the composite’s photocatalytic property to degrade organic pollutants in water  in three organic commonly seen pollutants — methyl orange, methyl red and nitorfurazone antibiotic.

  • The catalyst that becomes active when exposed to sunlight was synthesised by encapsulating nanocrystals of organic-inorganic perovskite inside a metal-organic framework (MOF).

  • When exposed to sunlight, the perovskite nanocrystals release electrons into water thus producing hydroxyl radicals. The hydroxyl radicals are highly active species that decomposes the organic pollutant.

  • The researchers  utilised the hydrophobic nature of the MOF material to render greater chemical stability to perovskite nanocrystals that form inside the MOF cavities.

  • The composites remained stable in water even when at boiling temperature for 20 days.

Drawbacks

The rate of degradation of organic pollutants is not high compared with other standard materials.

 

Advantages

  • Compared with other materials, perovskite is inexpensive. It is also possible to scale up its production easily.

  • It is possible to increase the degradation rate by using different perovskite and MOF materials through further research.