Dr. Andreea Chibac-ScutaruResearcher, Polyaddition and Photochemistry Department,
"Petru Poni" Institute of Macromolecular Chemistry of Romanian Academy, Romania
Speech Title: Photocatalytic Materials based on CeO2 Nanoparticles and Photocrosslinked Cellulosic Matrices. Insights into the Pollutant Removal Catalysis Mechanism
Abstract: Photocatalysis is one of the most promising pathways to relieve the environmental contamination and energy dilemma caused by the rapid development of modern technology. Semiconductor photocatalysis has been extensively studied since the discovery of TiO2, but other new materials are also very interesting for use as photocatalysts. Recent research has thoroughly investigated ceria nanoparticles (CeO2 NPs) of various sizes and shapes for potential applications in the catalysis field. While various CeO2 nanostructure morphologies have been realized and their photocatalytic properties investigated, it remains difficult to provide an efficient catalyst material that could be used further in real-world working conditions. A sustainable photocatalyst material must meet multiple requirements at the same time: good catalytic efficiency under sunlight, easy recovery after multiple utilization cycles, and preparation from inexpensive and readily available materials. Our group has already reported the creation of new photocatalytic materials through the immobilization of CeO2 nanoparticles into a tuneable and flexible cellulose-based platform , and we are working to improve these materials.We consider that it is essential to conduct detailed studies on the influence of the interaction between CeO2 NPs and support matrices (organic components based on cellulose) on the optical properties and catalytic behaviour. The CeO2 NPs used in this study were well characterized in our previous report (sample V4) , with their absorption maximum being in the UVB region of the spectrum (308 nm) and the band gap value being Eg = 3.02 eV, indicating that they can be used as photocatalyst under UV radiation. Finally, the catalytic efficiency of the materials under sunlight was improved by the addition of noble metal nanoparticles (Ag, Au or Pd) to the system by the in situ photogeneration technique. Also, we clarify the catalysis mechanism of the prepared materials used for photodegradation of a model dye pollutant (brilliant green).
Keywords: CeO2 NPs, Cellulose functionalization, Photocrosslinking, Noble metal nanoparticles, Photocatalysis.
Acknowledgements: This work was supported by a grant of the Romanian Ministry of Education and Research, CNCS–UEFISCDI, project number PN-III-P1-1.1-TE-2019-1245 (23/27.08.2020), within PNCDI III.
 V. Melinte, A.L. Chibac-Scutaru, M.E. Culica, S. Coseri, Appl. Surf. Sci. 2021, 565, 150494.
 A.L. Chibac-Scutaru, V. Podasca, I.A. Dascalu, V. Melinte, Nanomaterials 2022, 12, 1402.
Biography: Dr. Andreea L. Chibac-Scutaru is a Researcher at the "Petru Poni" Institute of Macromolecular Chemistry of Romanian Academy, Romania. Her main research expertises are as below:
- development of materials for technical applications (photocatalysis, UV shielding, fuel cells) starting from renewable sources (cellulose, oxidezed cellulose)
- development of acrylates based nanocomposite/polymeric materials for fluorescent sensor and photocatalysis (degradation of organic pollutants and organic reactions) applications;
- synthesis of monomers, (block) copolymers, inorganic nanoparicles in situ and ex situ (Ag, Au, TiO2) and organic-inorganic hybrid composites;
- photopolymerization studies;
- structural and physicochemical characterization of the synthesiezed compounds/materials: FTIR, NMR, UV-Vis, fluorescence, SEM, EDX, TEM, XRD, SAXS etc;
- photocatalysis- catalytic activity study, reaction mechanism study;
- fluorescence studies – quenching mechanism, selective detection.