Recently, there has been significant research interest toward sustainable chemical synthesis and processing of nanomaterials. Human urine, a pollutant, requires energy intensive processing steps prior to releasing into rivers and oceans. Upcyling urine has been proposed and practiced as a sustainable process in the past. Doping is one of the foremost processes to elevate the functionality of nanomaterials depending on the applications it is sought for. Phosphorus doping in to TiO2 nanomaterials has been of research interest over a decade now, that has been chiefly done using acidic precursors. Here we demonstrate, upcycling urine, a sustainable process for phosphorus doping into TiO2 lattice. Upon doping the changes in morphology, surface chemistry and band gap is studied in detail and compared with undoped TiO2 that is prepared using deionized water instead of urine. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy confirmed that the P was replacing Ti in the lattice and exists in P5+ state with a quantified concentration of 2.5–3 at %. P-doped nanoparticles were almost 50% smaller in size with a lower concentration of surface −OH groups and a band gap increase of 0.3 eV. Finally, impact of these changes on energy devices such as dye-sensitized solar cells and li-ion batteries has been investigated. It is confirmed that P-doping induced surface chemical and band gap changes in TiO2 affected the solar cell characteristics negatively, while the smaller particle size and possibly wider surface channels improved Li-ion battery performance.
S. P. Madhusudanan, Gangaja, B., Shyla, A. G., A. Nair, S., Shantikumar V Nair, and Dr. Dhamodaran Santhanagopalan, “Sustainable chemical synthesis for phosphorus-doping of TiO2 nanoparticles by upcycling human urine and impact of doping on energy applications”, ACS Sustainable Chem. Eng, pp. 2393–2399, 2017.