Fe–Pr co-doped TiO2 photocatalysts are synthetized by sol–gel method using titanium tetraisopropoxide, praseodymium nitrate and iron acetylacetonate as precursors of titania, praseodymium and iron, respectively. The chemical-physical properties of all prepared samples are analysed by X-ray diffraction (XRD), Raman spectroscopy, UV–vis diffuse reflectance spectroscopy (UV–vis DRS), photoluminescence (PL) spectroscopy and N2 adsorption at −196 °C. XRD patterns show the main peaks of anatase phase in all photocatalysts and evidence that Fe and Pr ions are effectively introduced into the TiO2 lattice. UV–vis DRS spectra indicate the reduction of the band gap value of Fe-Pr co-doped TiO2 with respect to TiO2 and Pr-doped TiO2 thank to co-doping of TiO2 with Pr and Fe ions. The photocatalytic performances of all prepared samples are investigated for the degradation of Acid Orange 7 azo dye (AO7) and also of phenol under visible light irradiation. Photocatalytic efficiency obtained using Fe–Pr co-doped TiO2 markedly increases compared to un-doped TiO2, Pr-doped TiO2 and Fe-doped TiO2 photocatalysts. Fe-Pr co-doped TiO2 prepared with 8.5 mg of praseodymium nitrate gave the best photocatalytic activity. The enhanced photocatalytic activity should be associated with the simultaneous doping of TiO2 with Pr3+ and Fe3+ ions that induces a marked decrease of band gap value together with an enhanced generation of oxygen vacancies, which can trap electrons, and therefore reducing their recombination with photogenerated positive holes. Indeed, using the optimized Fe-Pr co-doped TiO2, the dye discoloration and mineralization is about 87 and 80 %, respectively, after 60 min of LEDs visible light irradiation, underlining the best performances of the optimized Fe–Pr co-doped TiO2 in terms of treatment time. Finally, the optimized Fe-Pr co-doped TiO2 is tested for visible light degradation of phenol in aqueous solution, confirming the absence of possible sensitization phenomena of photocatalyst surface by the AO7 dye.
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