Ciara Byrne

Current PhD Student

Anatase to Rutile Transition in Titanium Dioxide Photocatalytic Nanomaterials

Titanium dioxide is one the most researched photocatalyst as it is nontoxic, the ease of preparation, its strong oxidising ability, availability and its long-term stability. Titanium dioxide (titania) has three main crystalline phases, anatase (tetragonal, a=b=3.78Å; c=9.50Å), brookite (rhombohedral, a=5.43Å; b=9.16Å; c=5.13Å) and rutile (tetragonal, a=b=4.58Å; c=2.95Å). Rutile has been reported as the most thermodynamically stable phase and is the phase most abundantly found in nature. Anatase and brookite are both metastable phases, they irreversibly transform into rutile at temperatures between 600-700°C in pure synthetic titanium dioxide. Of the three phases, anatase is considered to be the most photocatalytic active phase. Different chemical additives/dopants can be used to extend the anatase to rutile phase transition to higher temperatures. The ability to make high temperature (≥800°C) stable anatase phase with photocatalytic properties is required for some its applications.

The main objectives of this work are:
• The chemical synthesis (sol-gel) of titanium dioxide nanomaterials
• Calcining all samples at temperatures between 400-1100°C for the purpose of determining the temperature the anatase to rutile occurs at.
• To add a number of different chemical additives/dopants in varying concentration and examine how this affects the transition from anatase into rutile.
• To examine how the above factors affect the photocatalytic activity of titanium dioxide.
• To use titanium dioxide as a photocatalyst for environmental applications, e.g. for water treatment.
• The samples will be characterized by X-Ray Diffraction (XRD), Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM), X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS), Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR), Raman spectroscopy and gas phase photocatalysis studies.



• Short Oral Communication & Poster. “The Impact of Tungsten Doped Titanium Dioxide on the Phase Transition and Photocatalytic Properties” at 2nd Summer School on Environmental Applications of Advanced Oxidation Processes of the European PhD School on AOPs and NEREUS COST Action ES1403 Summer School on Advanced Treatment Technologies and Contaminants of Emerging Concern, 10th-14th July 2017, Auditorium of the Almeida Garrett Municipal Library (Porto, Portugal)
• Oral Presentation. “Titanium Dioxide Nanomaterials for Healthcare Applications” at the Biomedical Postgraduate Research Conference, 20th-21st June 2017, IT Sligo, Ireland.
• Oral Presentation. “The impact of copper on the anatase to rutile transition in titanium dioxide and the photocatalytic properties” at The 2017 E-MRS Spring Meeting and Exhibit in Symposium F Photocatalytic materials for energy and environment, 22nd-26th May 2017, Convention Centre of Strasbourg (France).
• Oral Presentation. “Anatase to Rutile Transition in TiO2 Nanomaterials for Environmental Applications” at the 27th Irish Environmental Researcher’s Colloquium (ENVIRON) in Nanotechnology 10th- 12th April 2017, Athlone IT, Ireland.
• Oral Presentation. “Anatase to Rutile transition in titanium dioxide nanomaterials for environmental applications” at the 26th Irish Environmental Researcher’s Colloquium (ENVIRON) in Nanotechnology, 22nd-24th March, 2016, University of Limerick, Ireland.
• Oral Presentation. “Synthesis of Titanium Dioxide Nanomaterials for Environmental Applications” at the 25th Irish Environmental Researcher’s Colloquium (ENVIRON) in Nanotechnology, 8th-10th April 2015, IT Sligo, Ireland.



• University of Surrey, UK
• Dublin Institute of Technology
• Tyndall National Institute, UCC
• University of Valladolid, Spain
• Complutense University of Madrid, Spain

Science / Environmental Science PhD Nano-Bio PEM


IT, Sligo, President's Bursary Award


Prof. Suresh Pillai.