Titanium oxide nanoparticle dispersions in a liquid monomer and solid polymer resins prepared by sputtering
A transparent resin containing titanium oxide nanoparticles (NPs) was prepared using a molten matrix sputtering (MMS) technique. The low vapour pressure of the liquid, pentaerythritol ethoxylate (PEEL) substrate permits the use of this vacuum technique directly with liquid PEEL under stirring conditions in order to obtain uniform dispersions of NPs. We found that it is possible to synthesize titanium oxide, TiOx, NPs with diameters of less than 5 nm with a controlled composition by simply adjusting the sputtering atmosphere. Furthermore, as the electronic structure of the TiOx NPs changes depending on the particle size, crystallinity and degree of oxidation, we were able to modify the optical properties of PEEL and the resin by embedding TiOx NPs in the matrix. The enhancement of the refractive index of a resin containing TiO2 NPs was also demonstrated. This synthetic method is promising for the advanced preparation of high purity TiOx NPs without using a reducing agent and leaving by-products for various applications in optical devices, energy conversion, and light harvesting in the UV visible region.