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Volume 186, 2016
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SnxTi1−xO2 solid-solution-nanoparticle embedded mesoporous silica (SBA-15) hybrid as an engineered photocatalyst with enhanced activity

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Abstract

Synthesis of hybrids of a porous host-material (with well-dispersed embedded nanoparticles inside the pore), wherein each nanoparticle has precisely controlled properties (size and composition) poses a generic challenge. To this end, a new strategy is proposed to form SnxTi1−xO2 solid-solution-nanoparticles inside the pores of sphere-like mesoporous silica (SBA-15), with different percentages of Sn in the nanoparticle (varying from 5 to 50 at%), for enhanced photocatalysis. X-ray diffraction confirms the formation of solid-solution nanoparticles in the porous silica hybrid, while the location of nanoparticles and elemental composition are identified using electron microscopy. The hybrid with 5 at% of Sn (Sn0.05Ti0.95O2-sphere-like SBA-15) shows the maximum photocatalytic activity for degradation of rhodamine-B dye (first order rate constant for degradation, k = 1.86 h−1), compared to both pure TiO2-sphere-like SBA-15 (k = 1.38 h−1) or pure SnO2-sphere-like SBA-15 (k = 0.14 h−1) or other hybrids in this series. XPS and PL spectra suggest the formation of more oxygen vacancies during the replacement of Ti4+ with Sn4+. Electrochemical studies reveal that there is a reduction of charge transfer resistance from 910 kΩ cm−2 for TiO2-sphere-like SBA-15, to 332 kΩ cm−2 for Sn0.05Ti0.95O2-sphere-like SBA-15. These results imply that the enhancement in photocatalytic performance is as a result of delay in recombination of charge carriers. Therefore, the approach followed in the present work to form solid-solution nanoparticles inside a porous host without causing pore blockage, would be a promising route towards increasing reaction rates in catalytic applications of hybrid materials.

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Submitted
24 Aug 2015
Accepted
12 Oct 2015
First published
12 Oct 2015

Faraday Discuss., 2016,186, 353-370
Article type
Paper
Author version available

SnxTi1−xO2 solid-solution-nanoparticle embedded mesoporous silica (SBA-15) hybrid as an engineered photocatalyst with enhanced activity

N. R. Srinivasan and R. Bandyopadhyaya, Faraday Discuss., 2016, 186, 353
DOI: 10.1039/C5FD00126A

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