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About The Photocatalysts

Context:

Researchers at IISER Bhopal recently developed a new photocatalyst called UC-POP-Au, which absorbs the entire spectrum of light, making it a potent catalyst for chemical processes.

Relevance:

GS III: Science and Technology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Photocatalysts
  2. Applications

Photocatalysts:

  • The term “photocatalyst” combines “photo” related to photons and “catalyst,” a substance influencing reaction rates.
  • Photocatalysts are materials altering chemical reaction rates upon exposure to light, a phenomenon known as photocatalysis.
  • Illumination generates free charges (electrons and holes) in the catalyst, actively participating in chemical reactions.
  • All photocatalysts are essentially semiconductors.

Material Effectiveness:

  • Various materials exhibit photocatalytic capability, with titanium dioxide (TiO2) recognized as highly effective.
Categories of Photocatalysis:
  • Homogeneous Photocatalysis:
    • Occurs when the semiconductor and reactant share the same phase (gas, solid, or liquid).
  • Heterogeneous Photocatalysis:
    • Involves different phases for the semiconductor and reactant.

Applications:

Valuable for:

  • Air and Water Purification: Utilized in the degradation of pollutants.
  • Self-Cleaning Surfaces: Applied in coatings for surfaces that self-clean upon exposure to light.
  • Solar Energy Conversion: Plays a role in certain aspects of solar energy conversion processes.

-Source: Times of India


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