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Applied Catalysis B: Environmental, Vol.249, 1-8, 2019
One-step construction of Pickering emulsion via commercial TiO2 nanoparticles for photocatalytic dye degradation
Pickering emulsion (PE) stabilized by semiconductors for photocatalysis applications has received growing endorsement over the last decade due to its high interfacial activity. However, since most semiconductors inherently possess a strongly hydrophilic or hydrophobic surface and are unable to stabilize PE microcapsules by themselves, pretreating the surface of semiconductor powder with foreign modifier was usually unavoidable and inconvenient before the PE construction. Even worse, the added modifier inevitably limited the contact between the semiconductor and the reactant during the photocatalysis process. Herein, an oil-in-water PE was successfully obtained in one step without pretratment of the semiconductor, where the dye-contained wastewater and insoluble organic matter acted as the water and oil phases, respectively, and the dye molecules in water could directly assist TiO2 particles to become the stabilizer. The TiO2 powder in the formed PE system exhibited markedly enhanced photoactivity for dye degradation over that in traditional non-emulsified systems, and the PE microcapsules could be easily recovered for reuse and withstand long-term irradiation without severe demulsification. This work not only highlights a convenient and promising approach to build Pickering emulsion as a novel photocatalytic system with extremely high efficiency and recyclability, but also provides a new way of thinking on how to simplify the PE construction to meet more requirement in future practical applications.