Titanium oxide improves boron nitride photocatalytic degradation of perfluorooctanoic acid

Lijie Duan, Bo Wang, Kimberly N. Heck, Chelsea A. Clark, Jinshan Wei, Minghao Wang, Jordin Metz, Gang Wu, Ah Lim Tsai, Sujin Guo, Jacob Arredondo, Aditya D. Mohite, Thomas P. Senftle, Paul Westerhoff, Pedro Alvarez, Xianghua Wen, Yonghui Song, Michael S. Wong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Boron nitride (BN) has the newly-found property of degrading recalcitrant polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) under ultraviolet C (UV-C, 254 nm) irradiation. It is ineffective at longer wavelengths, though. In this study, we report the simple calcination of BN and UV-A active titanium oxide (TiO2) creates a BN/TiO2 composite that is more photocatalytically active than BN or TiO2 under UV-A for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). Under UV-A, BN/TiO2 degraded PFOA ∼ 15 × faster than TiO2, while BN was inactive. Band diagram analysis and photocurrent response measurements indicated that BN/TiO2 is a type-II heterojunction semiconductor, facilitating charge carrier separation. Additional experiments confirmed the importance of photogenerated holes for degrading PFOA. Outdoor experimentation under natural sunlight found BN/TiO2 to degrade PFOA in deionized water and salt-containing water with a half-life of 1.7 h and 4.5 h, respectively. These identified photocatalytic properties of BN/TiO2 highlight the potential for the light-driven destruction of other PFAS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number137735
JournalChemical Engineering Journal
StatePublished - Nov 15 2022


  • Boron nitride
  • Composite catalyst
  • PFAS
  • PFOA
  • Photocatalysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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