Impact of atomic layer deposited TiO2 on the photocatalytic efficiency of TiO2/w-VA-CNT nanocomposite materials


Titanium oxide (TiO2) has been widely investigated as a photocatalytic material, and the fact that its performance depends on its crystalline structure motivates further research on the relationship between preparation methods and material properties. In this work, TiO2 thin films were grown on non-functionalized wave-like patterned vertically aligned carbon nanotubes (w-VA-CNTs) via the atomic layer deposition (ALD) technique. Grazing incidence X-ray diffraction (GIXRD) analysis revealed that the structure of the TiO2/VA-CNT nanocomposites varied from amorphous to a crystalline phase with increasing deposition temperature, suggesting a critical deposition temperature for the anatase crystalline phase formation. On the other hand, scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) studies revealed that the non-functionalized carbon nanotubes were conformally and homogeneously coated with TiO2, forming a nanocomposite while preserving the morphology of the nanotubes. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) provided information about the surface chemistry and stoichiometry of TiO2. The photodegradation experiments under ultraviolet (UV) light on a model pollutant (Rhodamine B, RhB) revealed that the nanocomposite comprised of anatase crystalline TiO2 grown at 200 degrees C (11.2 nm thickness) presented the highest degradation efficiency viz 55% with an illumination time of 240 min. Furthermore, its recyclability was also demonstrated for multiple cycles, showing good recovery and potential for practical applications.



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Oliveira, IE; Silva, RM; Rodrigues, J; Correia, MR; Monteiro, T; Faria, JL; Silva, RF; Silva, CG

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This work was developed within the scope of the project CICECO-Aveiro Institute of Materials, UIDB/50011/2020 & UIDP/50011/2020, financed by national funds through the FCT/MEC. This work was financially supported by LA/P/0045/2020 (ALiCE), UIDB/50020/2020 and UIDP/50020/2020 (LSRE-LCM), funded by national funds through FCT/MCTES (PIDDAC). I. E. O. acknowledges FCT for the research grant 2020.06213.BD. We are indebted to Marta C. Ferro for technical assistance and advice with scanning transmission electron microscopy studies. J. Rodrigues, M. R. Correia, and T. Monteiro also acknowledge the project i3N, UIDB/50025/2020 & UIDP/50025/2020.

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