October 12, 2018 – A team of scientists from Ural Federal University (UrFU), Russia, tested a new promising thin-film photocatalyst based on titanium dioxide nanotubes with non-stoichiometry TiO2-x NTs film. The material synthesized by the scientists showed double the activity compared with the widely used industrial nano-powder. As a result, it turned out that the photocatalyst is able to effectively decompose harmful organic pollution of the environment under optical radiation.

‘In our experiments, acetone served as an indicator, which was decomposed into carbon dioxide and water in the reactor zone in the presence of nanotubular films under the action of visible light,’ explains Robert Kamalov, a junior researcher at UrFU’s Scientific and Educational Center “Nanomaterials and Nanotechnologies”. ‘The synthesized samples were compared with commercial photocatalysts based on TiO2.’

The efficiency of the newly developed nanostructures is more than two times higher than the efficiency of commercial analogues. The authors associate an increase in activity with a high specific surface area and non-stoichiometry of the dioxide film. Oxide films on the surface of titanium foil, consisting of highly ordered vertical nanotubes, were obtained at UrFU’s “Nanomaterials and Nanotechnologies” Center by the method of electrochemical synthesis.

‘Nanotubular titanium dioxide structures are studied by the scientists all over the world and are promising functional environments for creating solar cells, gas sensors, memristors, photocatalysts. We managed to learn not only methods of synthesizing them, but also how to give them the necessary properties by controlling the parameters of the synthesis,’ says the director of UrFU’s “Nanomaterials and Nanotechnologies”, Professor of the Russian Academy of Sciences Ilya Weinstein.

The photocatalytic characteristics of the obtained samples were studied using modern analytical equipment and original experimental facilities.

Now scientists are continuing to study nanotubular structures based on titanium dioxide and are working towards further enhancing their functional efficiency.

Today, titanium dioxide is widely used in science and technology due to the rich set of properties, for example, photocatalytic activity for cleaning the environment from harmful organic impurities.

The scientific team includes staff of Ural Federal University, the Institute of Solid State Chemistry of the Ural Division of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Catalysis of the Siberian Division of the Russian Academy of Sciences: Albina Valeeva, Alexander Vokhmintsev, Robert Kamalov, Irina Dorosheva, Ilya Weinstein, Andrey Rempel, Ekaterina Kozlova, Andrey Sarayev. The research results were published in the Nature Scientific Reports journal:

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-28045-1

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