Control of chemical state of cerium in doped anatase TiO2 by solvothermal synthesis and its application in photocatalytic water reduction†
Solvothermal synthesis at 240 °C in ethanol from titanium(IV) isopropoxide and cerium(III) nitrate hexahydrate produces nanocrystalline powders of anatase-structured TiO2. At low Ce content (0.5 mol% Ti replaced by Ce) the materials contain mixtures of Ce3+ and Ce4+, seen from Ce LIII-edge X-ray absorption near-edge structure (XANES) spectroscopy, which are well dispersed in the anatase structure as evidenced from nanometre-scale electron energy loss spectroscopy maps and powder X-ray diffraction (XRD). The addition of lactic acid to the solvothermal reaction produces less crystalline samples, proved by powder XRD and Raman spectroscopy, with higher surface areas from nitrogen adsorption, and that contain a higher proportion of Ce3+. This leads to material with high activity for photocatalytic hydrogen production from water under UV irradiation in the presence of sacrificial methanol and Pt catalyst. Further in situ XANES experiments at the Ce LIII-edge recorded on heating the materials in air above 300 °C shows that oxidation to Ce4+ occurs. This process, typical of the conditions usually used in the synthesis of Ce-doped titania materials, yields materials with lower photocatalytic activity.
- This article is part of the themed collections: 2015 Journal of Materials Chemistry A Hot Papers and Highlighting materials research in the UK for energy and sustainability