TiO2 nanoparticles doped SiO2 films with ordered mesopore channels: a catalytic nanoreactor
Titanium dioxide (TiO2) incorporated ordered 2D hexagonal mesoporous silica (SiO2) films on a glass substrate were fabricated for use as a catalytic nanoreactor. Films were prepared using a tetraethyl orthosilicate (TEOS) derived SiO2 sol and a commercially available dispersion of TiO2 nanoparticles (NPs) in the presence of pluronic P123 as the structure directing agent. The effect of TiO2 doping (4–10 mol% with respect to the equivalent SiO2) into the ordered mesoporous SiO2 matrix was thoroughly investigated. The undoped SiO2 film showed a mesostructural transformation after heat-treatment at 350 °C whereas incorporation of TiO2 restricted such a transformation. Among all the TiO2 incorporated films, TEM showed that the 7 equivalent mol% TiO2 doped SiO2 film (ST-7) had an optimal composition which could retain the more organized 2D hexagonal (space group p6mm)-like mesostructures after heat-treatment. The catalytic activities of the TiO2 doped (4–10 mol%) films were investigated for the reduction of toxic KMnO4 in an aqueous medium. ST-7 film showed the maximum catalytic activity, as well as reusability. A TEM study on the resultant solution after KMnO4 reduction revealed the formation of MnO2 nanowires. It was understood that the embedded TiO2 NPs bonded SiO2 matrix increased the surface hydroxyl groups of the composite films resulting in the generation of acidic sites. The catalytic process can be explained by this enhanced surface acidity. The mesoporous channel of the ST-7 films with TiO2 doping can be used as a nanoreactor to form extremely thin MnO2 nanowires.