Demonstrating a new BiOCl0.875Br0.125 photocatalyst to degrade pharmaceuticals under solar irradiation

Yaal Lester*, Dror Avisar, Hani Gnayem, Yoel Sasson, Michal Shavit, Hadas Mamane

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


This study demonstrates the potential of a new BiOCl0.875Br0.125 photocatalyst to degrade pharmaceuticals in water (i.e., carbamazepine (CBZ), ibuprofen (IBF), bezafibrate (BZF), and propranolol (PPL)), under simulated solar irradiation. Different parameters were examined through their influence on CBZ degradation. Increasing the catalyst concentration up to 500 mg/L increased CBZ degradation rate; however, above 500 mg/L, CBZ degradation rate was slightly reduced, most likely due to the catalyst's light-screening effect at high concentrations. Increasing the pH of the tested solution from 4 to 9 decreased the degree of CBZ adsorption to the catalyst and consequently its degradation rate. Quantum yield for CBZ degradation was found to be 0.75∈±∈0.05 % using an integrating sphere for absorbance measurements to correctly account for scattering of light by the suspended catalyst. Degradation rates of all examined compounds (at pH 7) followed the order PPL > BZF > IBF > CBZ (highest rate for PPL). Interestingly, PPL was least adsorbed to the catalyst, implying that adsorption is not always mandatory for efficient degradation with BiOCl0.875Br0.125. Different adsorption mechanisms were hypothesized for the different pharmaceuticals, including hydrophobic attraction for the neutrally charged CBZ and ion exchange for the negatively charged IBF and BZF.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number2132
JournalWater, Air, and Soil Pollution
Issue number9
StatePublished - 12 Nov 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Springer International Publishing Switzerland.


  • Bismuth
  • Carbamazepine
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Photocatalysis
  • Quantum yield
  • Solar irradiation


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