Mild yet phase-selective preparation of TiO2 nanoparticles from ionic liquids--a critical study.

PMID 23872945


The phase selective synthesis of nanocrystalline TiO2, titania, in ionic liquids (ILs) is explored. The influence not only of the IL but also of the Ti-precursor, pH, and temperature is investigated. Sonochemical synthesis, microwave synthesis and conventional heating are compared. In the case of Ti(O(i)Pr)4 (O(i)Pr = isopropyl) as the Ti-source the ILs [C4mim][Tf2N] (1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium bis(trifluoromethanesulfonyl)amide), [C3mimOH][Tf2N] (1-(3-hydroxypropyl)-3-methylimidazolium bis(trifluoromethanesulfonyl)amide), [C4Py][Tf2N] (butylpyridinium bis(trifluoromethanesulfonyl)amide), [N1888][Tf2N] (methyltrioctylammonium bis(trifluoromethanesulfonyl)amide), and [P66614][Tf2N] (tetradecyltrihexyl phosphonium bis(trifluoromethanesulfonyl)amide) led at ambient temperature to TiO2 in the form of anatase. The morphology of nano-anatase is controlled by the IL cation. Anatase nanospheres with a crystal size below 10 nm are obtained in [C3mimOH][Tf2N], [P66614][Tf2N] and [C4Py][Tf2N], whilst nanorods with a length and diameter of ∼10 to 20 and 5 nm are formed in [N1888][Tf2N] and spindle-shaped particles with an average length of 10-25 nm are formed in [C4mim][Tf2N]. Calcination at temperatures above 730 °C leads to rutile. When using TiCl4 as the Ti-precursor an anatase-rutile mixture forms under ambient conditions. Pure rutile can be obtained under ambient conditions in the presence of an appropriate volume of aqueous HCl. At moderate to high pH values pure anatase can be obtained even from TiCl4. The photocatalytic activity of the obtained TiO2 materials has been assessed by the photodegradation of an aqueous methyl orange solution under UV light. The results indicate that the photocatalytic activity of anatase-brookite mixtures obtained in [C4mim][Tf2N], [N1888][Tf2N] and [P66614][Tf2N] is higher than that of pure anatase which is formed in [C3mimOH][Tf2N] and [C4Py][Tf2N] and competitive with commercially available catalysts.

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