Journal of the American Chemical Society

Nonaqueous synthesis of TiO2 nanocrystals using TiF4 to engineer morphology, oxygen vacancy concentration, and photocatalytic activity.

PMID 22444667


Control over faceting in nanocrystals (NCs) is pivotal for many applications, but most notably when investigating catalytic reactions which occur on the surfaces of nanostructures. Anatase titanium dioxide (TiO(2)) is one of the most studied photocatalysts, but the shape dependence of its activity has not yet been satisfactorily investigated and many questions still remain unanswered. We report the nonaqueous surfactant-assisted synthesis of highly uniform anatase TiO(2) NCs with tailorable morphology in the 10-100 nm size regime, prepared through a seeded growth technique. Introduction of titanium(IV) fluoride (TiF(4)) preferentially exposes the {001} facet of anatase through in situ release of hydrofluoric acid (HF), allowing for the formation of uniform anatase NCs based on the truncated tetragonal bipyramidal geometry. A method is described to engineer the percentage of {001} and {101} facets through the choice of cosurfactant and titanium precursor. X-ray diffraction studies are performed in conjunction with simulation to determine an average NC dimension which correlates with results obtained using electron microscopy. In addition to altering the particle shape, the introduction of TiF(4) into the synthesis results in TiO(2) NCs that are blue in color and display a broad visible/NIR absorbance which peaks in the infrared (λ(max) ≈ 3400 nm). The blue color results from oxygen vacancies formed in the presence of fluorine, as indicated by electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) studies. The surfactants on the surface of the NCs are removed through a simple ligand exchange procedure, allowing the shape dependence of photocatalytic hydrogen evolution to be studied using monodisperse TiO(2) NCs. Preliminary experiments on the photoreforming of methanol, employed as a model sacrificial agent, on platinized samples resulted in high volumes of evolved hydrogen (up to 2.1 mmol h(-1) g(-1)) under simulated solar illumination. Remarkably, the data suggest that, under our experimental conditions, the {101} facets of anatase are more active than the {001}.

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Titanium(IV) fluoride