An advanced photo-oxidation process for pharmaceuticals using plasmon-assisted Ag-CoFe2O4 photocatalysts

T. Sivaranjani, S. Rajakarthihan, G. Bharath, Mohammad Abu Haija, Fawzi Banat

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    5 Scopus citations


    The discharge of amoxicillin (AMX) from pharmaceutical intermediates has adverse effects on aquatic ecosystems. The elimination of AMX requires advanced oxidation processes (AOPs) that utilize high-performance photocatalysts. Furthermore, the design of highly visible light photocatalysts for AOPs demands both cost-effectiveness and efficiency. In this work, a plasmon-assisted visible light photocatalyst of 2D Ag-CoFe2O4 nanohybrids was successfully synthesized and characterized with several analytical tools to degrade AMX in aqueous solutions through advanced AOPs. The results showed that the Ag-CoFe2O4 nanohybrids had excellent photocatalytic activity and stability, which could efficiently reduce the AMX concentration by 99% within 70 min under visible light irradiation. In particular, CoFe2O4 and Ag have an interfacial contact that prevents electron-hole pair recombination more effectively than pure CoFe2O4, which results in electrons in its conduction band (CB) migrating to metallic Ag sites. Thus, charge transfers between the two materials are more efficient, leading to higher photocatalytic oxidation of AMX. Furthermore, the surface plasmon of Ag nanoparticles are excited by their plasmonic resonance, which increases the absorption of visible light. The plasmon-assisted visible light photocatalyst could replace expensive and energy-intensive advanced oxidation processes (AOPs). AOPs pathways associated with AMX have been discussed in detail. The HPLC chromatogram clearly showed AMX was oxidized by four-membered B-lactam ring opening and hydroxylation with •OH. 2D Ag-CoFe2O4 heterostructure was found to be efficient, selective, and cost-effective for the degradation of several pharmaceutical compounds. Additionally, it was found to be eco-friendly and sustainable, making it a viable alternative to AOPs.

    Original languageBritish English
    Article number139984
    StatePublished - Nov 2023


    • 2D photocatalysts
    • Advanced oxidation processes
    • Amoxicillin
    • Pharmaceutical pollution
    • Photodegradation
    • Wastewater treatment


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