Visible Light-Induced Catalyst-Free Activation of Peroxydisulfate: Pollutant-Dependent Production of Reactive Species

Yinghao Wen, Ching Hua Huang, Daniel C. Ashley, Dan Meyerstein, Dionysios D. Dionysiou, Virender K. Sharma, Xingmao Ma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


Activation of peroxydisulfate (PDS, S2O82-) via various catalysts to degrade pollutants in water has been extensively investigated. However, catalyst-free activation of PDS by visible light has been largely ignored. This paper reports effective visible light activation of PDS without any additional catalyst, leading to the degradation of a wide range of organic compounds of high environmental and human health concerns. Importantly, the formation of reactive species is distinctively different in the PDS visible light system with and without pollutants [e.g., atrazine (ATZ)]. In addition to SO4•- generated via S2O82- dissociation under visible light irradiation, O2•- and 1O2 are also produced in both systems. However, in the absence of ATZ, H2O2 and O2•- are key intermediates and precursors for 1O2, whereas in the presence of ATZ, a different pathway was followed to produce O2•- and 1O2. Both radical and nonradical processes contribute to the degradation of ATZ in the PDS visible light system. The active role of 1O2 in the degradation of ATZ besides SO4•- is manifested by the enhanced degradation of contaminants and electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy measurements in D2O.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2626-2636
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 15 Feb 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • advanced oxidation process
  • catalyst-free
  • peroxydisulfate
  • singlet oxygen
  • visible light

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry


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