Coupling Light Emitting Diodes with Photocatalyst-Coated Optical Fibers Improves Quantum Yield of Pollutant Oxidation

Li Ling, Heather Tugaoen, Jonathon Brame, Shahnawaz Sinha, Chuanhao Li, Jared Schoepf, Kiril Hristovski, Jae Hong Kim, Chii Shang, Paul Westerhoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


A photocatalyst-coated optical fiber was coupled with a 318 nm ultraviolet-A light emitting diode, which activated the photocatalysts by interfacial photon-electron excitation while minimizing photonic energy losses due to conventional photocatalytic barriers. The light delivery mechanism was explored via modeling of evanescent wave energy produced upon total internal reflection and photon refraction into the TiO2 surface coating. This work explores aqueous phase LED-irradiated optical fibers for treating organic pollutants and for the first time proposes a dual-mechanistic approach to light delivery and photocatalytic performance. Degradation of a probe organic pollutant was evaluated as a function of optical fiber coating thickness, fiber length, and photocatalyst attachment method and compared against the performance of an equivalent catalyst mass in a completely mixed slurry reactor. Measured and simulated photon fluence through the optical fibers decreased as a function of fiber length, coating thickness, or TiO2 mass externally coated on the fiber. Thinner TiO2 coatings achieved faster pollutant removal rates from solution, and dip coating performed better than sol-gel attachment methods. TiO2 attached to optical fibers achieved a 5-fold higher quantum yield compared against an equivalent mass of TiO2 suspended in a slurry solution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13319-13326
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number22
StatePublished - Nov 21 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry


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