Enhanced photocatalytic activity of TiO2 nano-structured thin film with a silver hierarchical configuration
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TiO2 sol-gels with various Ag/TiO2 molar ratios from 0 to 0.9% were used to fabricate silver-modified nano-structured TiO2 thin films using a layer-by-layer dip-coating (LLDC) technique. This technique allows obtaining TiO2 nano-structured thin films with a silver hierarchical configuration. The coating of pure TiO2 sol-gel and Ag-modified sol-gel was marked as T and A, resp. According to the coating order and the nature of the TiO2 sol-gel, four types of the TiO2 thin films were constructed, and marked as AT (bottom layer was Ag modified, surface layer was pure TiO2), TA (bottom layer was pure TiO2, surface layer was Ag modified), TT (pure TiO2 thin film) and AA (TiO2 thin film was uniformly Ag modified). These thin films were characterized by means of linear sweep voltammetry (LSV), X-ray diffraction (XRD), SEM (SEM), electrochem. impedance spectroscopy and transient photocurrent (Iph). LSV confirmed the existence of Ag0 state in the TiO2 thin film. SEM and XRD expts. indicated that the sizes of the TiO2 nanoparticles of the resulting films were in the order of TT > AT > TA > AA, suggesting the gradient Ag distribution in the films. The SEM and XRD results also confirmed that Ag had an inhibition effect on the size growth of anatase nanoparticles. Photocatalytic activities of the resulting thin films were also evaluated in the photocatalytic degrdn. process of methyl orange. The preliminary results demonstrated the sequence of the photocatalytic activity of the resulting films was AT > TA > AA > TT. This suggested that the silver hierarchical configuration can be used to improve the photocatalytic activity of TiO2 thin film.
Applied Surface Science