Wednesday, 23 April, 2014
Tailoring the Morphology of Mesoporous Titania Thin Films through Biotemplating with Nanocrystalline Cellulose
A. Ivanova, D. Fattakhova-Rohlfing, B. Kayaalp, J. Rathouský, and T. Bein -
J. Am. Chem. Soc., Vol. 136 (16), pp 5930-5937 (2014)
The tunable porosity of titania thin films is a key factor for successful applications in photovoltaics, sensing, and photocatalysis. Here, we report on nanocrystalline cellulose (NCC) as a novel shape-persistent templating agent enabling the straightforward synthesis of mesoporous titania thin films. The obtained structures are highly porous anatase morphologies having well-defined, narrow pore size distributions. By varying the titania-to-template ratio, it is possible to tune the surface area, pore size, pore anisotropy, and dimensions of titania crystallites in the films. Moreover, a post-treatment at high humidity and subsequent slow template removal can be used to achieve pore widening; this treatment is also beneficial for the multilayer deposition of thick films. The resulting homogeneous transparent films can be directly spin- or dip- coated on glass, silicon, and transparent conducting oxide (TCO) substrates. The mesoporous titania films show very high activity in the photocatalytic NO conversion and in the degradation of 4-chlorophenol. Furthermore, the films can be successfully applied as anodes in dye-sensitized solar cells.