Currently, TiO2 and ZnO are the photocatalysts more commonly used as depollutant agents (organic matter degradation, NOx, etc) in different applications: water treatment, ambient purifier (paints, construction materials). However, they require UV radiation for its activation, which means a disadvantage to achieve a maximum effectiveness, because of the relatively low UV radiation coming from the sun (3-5%). This is a limitation for the use of these photocatalysts in dark places or indoor applications.
Laurentia Technologies and the University of Cordoba are collaborating in the development and application of Fe2O3 as photocatalyst active under visible light radiation. Fe2O3 in its a-crystalline form (hematite), has a band gap of 2.2 eV, and therefore, it is able to absorb radiation till 600 nm. Besides the low price of the a-Fe2O3, it shows interesting physical and chemical properties, which justify the potential use for a high number of applications. a-Fe2O3 shows high corrosion resistance, non toxicity, environmentally friendly, biocompatible and it is possible to obtain it in different nanostructures (nanoparticles, nanocubes, nanospheres, etc.).
The design of the a-Fe2O3 nanostructures for incorporation in different materials and substrates, and its use as photocatalyst active under visible radiation in different sectors of science and technology are the objective of current research in Laurentia Technologies.