Recent advances in wastewater treatment using semiconductor photocatalysts

Semiconductor materials demonstrate promising potential for wastewater treatment due to their photocatalytic properties, which can be controlled through the design of the bandgap structure. The photogenerated electron and hole in semiconductor materials provide efficient oxidation/reduction performance for the degradation of pollutants, either directly or indirectly, through the generation of reactive species. Photocatalytic degradation has been utilized to treat contaminants ranging from dyes, chemical precursors, and pharmaceuticals, to diverse organic and inorganic waste. Over the past few years, advances in functional materials have achieved wider light absorption ranges and extended charge carrier lifetime through the doping of heteroatoms or the formation of heterojunctions. Despite these advances, innovative strategies are required to target emerging contaminants with environmental persistence, such as perfluorinated compounds, and improve the efficiency of these nanomaterials in real water matrices in the presence of multicomponent interfering ions. In this review, recent advances on the application of semiconductor catalysts for wastewater treatment and environmental remediation are reviewed, and new approaches that may overcome the current limitations are discussed.