Exploring the photocatalytic conversion mechanism of gaseous formaldehyde degradation on TiO2–x-OV surface

Xinwei Li, Haiwei Li, Yu Huang, Junji Cao, Tingting Huang, Rong Li, Qian Zhang, Shuncheng Lee (Corresponding Author), Wingkei Ho (Corresponding Author)

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


To understand the conversion mechanism of photocatalytic gaseous formaldehyde (HCHO) degradation, strontium (Sr)-doped TiO 2–x–OV catalysts was designed and synthesized in this study, with comparable HCHO removal performance. Our results proved that foreign-element doping reduced Ti 4+ to the lower oxidation state Ti (4– x)+, and that the internal charge kinetics was largely facilitated by the unbalanced electron distribution. Oxygen vacancies (OVs) were developed spontaneously to realize an electron-localized phenomenon in TiO 2–x–OV, thereby boosting O 2 adsorption and activation for the enhanced generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). At the chemisorption stage, in-situ DRIFTS spectra and density functional theory calculation results revealed that surface adsorbed O 2 (O ads) and lattice O (O lat) engaged in the isomerisation of HCHO to dioxymethylene (DOM) on TiO 2–x–OV and TiO 2, respectively. Time-resolved DRIFTS spectra under light irradiation revealed that the DOM was then converted to formate and thoroughly oxidized to CO 2 and H 2O in TiO 2–x–OV. While bicarbonate byproducts were detected from DOM hydroxylation or possible side conversion of CO 2 in TiO 2, owing to insufficient consumption of surface hydroxyl. Our study enhances the understanding on the photocatalytic oxidation of HCHO, thereby promoting the practical application in indoor air purification.

Original languageEnglish
Article number127217
JournalJournal of Hazardous Materials
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2022


  • Formaldehyde
  • Intermediates
  • Oxygen vacancies
  • Photocatalytic degradation
  • Quantum efficiency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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