Chemical synthesis of titanium dioxide nanomaterials
Supervisor: Prof. Suresh Pillai
Funding Body: IT Sligo President’s Bursary
Titanium dioxide is the most researched photocatalyst due to its ease of preparation, availability, strong oxidizing ability nontoxicity and its long-term stability.
Titanium dioxide exists in three different crystalline forms in nature. These are anatase, brookite and rutile. Rutile is the most natural form found in nature and is reported as the most thermodynamically stable phase. Anatase and brookite are both metastable phases and convert irreversibly into rutile at elevated temperatures. Anatase is regarded widely as the most photocatalytically active of the three phases.
The anatase to rutile transition occurs in pure synthetic TiO2 at temperatures between 600 to 700 °C. Various chemical additives can be used to extend the anatase to rutile phase transition to higher temperatures. The ability to produce a stable anatase phase with the required properties at elevated temperatures (≥800°C) is desired for its applications, an example of this is the in-situ fabrication of tiles for kitchen, surgical wards and bathrooms in order to achieve better indoor air quality.
The main objectives of this project is the chemical synthesis (sol-gel and microwave assisted synthesis) of titanium dioxide nanomaterials using various precursors, heating the samples at temperatures in the 400-1100°C for the purpose of examining at what temperature does the anatase-rutile transition occur, to examine the effects of varying concentrations of additives/dopants on this transition and the characterisation of all samples using methods such as TEM, XRD, FTIR, XPS, FESEM.