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Issue 40, 2014
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Kinetic study of the heterogeneous photocatalysis of porous nanocrystalline TiO2 assemblies using a continuous random walk simulation

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Abstract

The continuous time random walk (CTRW) simulation was used to study the photocatalytic kinetics of nanocrystalline (nc)-TiO2 assemblies in this research. nc-TiO2 assemblies, such as nc-TiO2 porous films and nc-TiO2 hierarchical structures, are now widely used in photocatalysis. The nc-TiO2 assemblies have quasi-disordered networks consisting of many tiny nanoparticles, so the charge transport within them can be studied by CTRW simulation. We considered the experimental facts that the holes can be quickly trapped and transferred to organic species just after photogeneration, and the electrons transfer to O2 slowly and accumulate in the conduction band of TiO2, which is believed to be the rate-limiting process of the photocatalysis under low light intensity and low organic concentration. Due to the existence of numerous traps, the electron transport within the nc-TiO2 assemblies follows a multi-trapping (MT) mechanism, which significantly limits the electron diffusion speed. The electrons need to undergo several steps of MT transport before transferring to oxygen, so it is highly important that the electron transport in nc-TiO2 networks is determined for standard photocatalytic reactions. Based on the MT transport model, the transient decays of photocurrents during the photocatalytic oxidation of formic acid were studied by CTRW simulation, and are in good accordance with experiments. The steady state photocatalysis was also simulated. The effects of organic concentration, light intensity, temperature, and nc-TiO2 crystallinity on the photocatalytic kinetics were investigated, and were also consistent with the experimental results. Due to the agreement between the simulation and the experiments for both the transient and the steady state photocatalysis, the MT charge transport should be an important mechanism that controls the kinetics of recombination and photocatalysis in nc-TiO2 assemblies. Also, our research provides a new methodology to study the photocatalytic dynamics from the random event viewpoint, which can be revised to investigate the kinetic processes of other kinds of material.

Graphical abstract: Kinetic study of the heterogeneous photocatalysis of porous nanocrystalline TiO2 assemblies using a continuous random walk simulation

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Publication details

The article was received on 22 May 2014, accepted on 27 Jun 2014 and first published on 16 Sep 2014


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C4CP02243B
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Citation: Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2014,16, 22343-22351
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    Kinetic study of the heterogeneous photocatalysis of porous nanocrystalline TiO2 assemblies using a continuous random walk simulation

    B. Liu and X. Zhao, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2014, 16, 22343
    DOI: 10.1039/C4CP02243B

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