Critical role of oxygen vacancies in heterogeneous fenton oxidation over ceria-based catalysts

Nuanqin ZHANG, Po Keung Eric TSANG, Junyi CHEN, Zhanqiang FANG, Dongye ZHAO

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)


This study examined the relationship between surface oxygen vacancies (OVs) and ceria-based heterogeneous Fenton catalytic activity. Compared with pure iron oxide and ceria, iron-doped ceria with abundant OVs (FeCeOx) exhibits higher rhodamine B (RhB) degradation efficiency (98%) and has a wider applicable pH range (3.0-9.0). The surface hydroxyl radicals are proved to be the predominant reactive species in the oxidation of RhB. Annealing the FeCeOx in an oxygen atmosphere appears to eliminate the OVs, significantly inhibiting the decomposition of H₂O₂ and the degradation of target pollutants. As multifunctional active sites, OVs are energetically more favorable for the adsorption of reactants than other sites, due to their high electron density. They not only accelerate the Fe(III)/Fe(II) cycle, they also immediately activate H₂O₂, dissolved oxygen or even water molecules to produce oxidative species, which accounts for the ideal degradation of RhB in the heterogeneous Fenton system. This study clarifies the mechanism of the ceria-based heterogeneous Fenton and provides a better understanding of the surface design of heterogeneous Fenton catalysts. Copyright © 2019 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-172
JournalJournal of Colloid and Interface Science
Early online date21 Sep 2019
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2020



Zhang, N., Tsang, E. P., Chen, J., Fang, Z., & Zhao, D. (2020). Critical role of oxygen vacancies in heterogeneous fenton oxidation over ceria-based catalysts. Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, 558, 163-172. doi: 10.1016/j.jcis.2019.09.079


  • Heterogeneous Fenton
  • CeO₂
  • Oxygen vacancies
  • Iron cycle