A wide range of organic pollutants can be destroyed by semiconductor photocatalysis using titania. The purification of water and air contaminated with organic pollutants has been investigated by semiconductor photocatalysis for many years and in attempts to improve the purification
rate platinum and palladium have been deposited, usually as fine particles, on the titania surface. Such deposits are expected to improve the rate of reduction of oxygen and so reduce the probability of electron-hole recombination and increase the overall rate of the reaction. The effectiveness
of the deposits is reviewed here and appears very variable with reported rate enhancement factors ranging from 8 to 0.1. Semiconductor photocatalysis can be used to purify air (at temperatures > 100°C) and Pt deposits can markedly improve the overall rate of mineralisation. However,
volatile organic compounds containing an heteroatom can deactivate the photocatalyst completely and irreversibly. Factors contributing to the success of the processes are considered. The use of chloro-Pt(IV)-titania and other chloro-platinum group metals-titania complexes as possible visible
light sensitisers for water and air purification is briefly reviewed.
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