Now showing 1 - 10 of 27
  • Publication
    Carbon-Doped TiO2 and Carbon, Tungsten-Codoped TiO2 through Sol-Gel Processes in the Presence of Melamine Borate: Reflections through Photocatalysis
    A series of C-doped, W-doped, and C,Wcodoped TiO2 samples have been prepared using modified sol-gel techniques. Reproducible inexpensive C-doping arises from the presence of melamine borate in a sol-gel mixture, whereas W-doping is from the addition of tungstic acid to the sol. The materials have been characterized using elemental analysis, N2 physisorption (BET), thermogravimetric analysis, X-ray diffraction, Raman, X-ray photoelectron, UV-vis spectroscopies, and photocatalytic activity measurements. Doping C and W independently results in an increased absorbance in the visible region of the spectrum with a synergistic effect in increased absorbance when both elements are codoped. The increased visible-light absorbance of the W-doped or codoped materials is not reflected in photocatalytic activity. Visiblelight- induced photocatalytic activity of C-doped material was superior to that of an undoped catalyst, paving the way for its application under only visible-light irradiation conditions. A significant fraction of the spectral red shift commonly observed with doped catalysts might be due to the formation of color centers as a result of defects associated with oxygen vacancies, and bandgap-related narrowing or intragap localization of dopant levels are not the only factors responsible for enhanced visible-light absorption in doped photocatalysts. Furthermore, bandgap narrowing through increases in the energy of the valence band may actually decrease photo-oxidation activity through a curtailment of one route of oxidation.
      870Scopus© Citations 108
  • Publication
    Evaluation of microwave plasma oxidation treatments for the fabrication of photoactive un-doped and carbon-doped TiO2 coatings
    The photoactivity of both un-doped and carbon-doped titanium dioxide (TiO2) coatings has been widely reported. In this paper, the use of a microwave plasma as a novel oxidation treatment for the fabrication of these coatings is evaluated. The photoactivity performance of the microwave plasma-formed coatings is benchmarked against those fabricated through air furnace oxidation as well as those deposited using reactive magnetron sputtering. The un-doped and carbon-doped TiO2 coatings were prepared respectively by microwave plasma-oxidizing titanium metal sheets and sputter deposited titanium carbide thin films. The resulting oxides were characterized using XPS, XRD, FEG-SEM, and optical profilometry. The oxide layer thicknesses achieved over the 15 to 45 minute oxidation times were in the range of 0.15 to 3.44 µm. These coatings were considerably thicker than those obtained by air furnace oxidation. The microwave plasma-formed oxides also exhibited significantly higher surface roughness values compared with the magnetron-sputtered coatings. The photoactivity performance of both un-doped and carbon-doped coatings was assessed using photocurrent density measurements. Comparing the un-doped TiO2 coatings, it was observed that those obtained using the microwave plasma oxidation route yielded photocurrent density measurements that were 4.3 times higher than the TiO2 coatings of the same thickness that were deposited by sputtering. The microwave plasma-oxidized titanium carbide coatings did not perform as well as the un-doped TiO2 probably due to the presence of un-oxidized carbide in the coatings, which reduced their photoactivity.
      1419Scopus© Citations 33
  • Publication
    Serendipity following attempts to prepare C-doped rutile TiO2
    Attempts to mimic the band gap narrowing seen in anatase TiO2 following C-doping of the lattice where the C arose from a melamine borate precursor were made in situations where the sol-gel mixture was directed towards rutile formation. The formed materials were characterised using XRD, BET, UV-Vis spectroscopy, XPS and TEM and their activities in promoting the photo-degradation of 4-chlorophenol were analysed. It was found that carbon was not doped into the lattice (in contrast to the situations where the sol-gel mixture was directed towards the precipitation of anatase TiO2). In spite of how common reports of the preparation of C-doped TiO2 using sol-gel processes have been, the presence of carbon dopant precursors in a crystallising sol does not necessarily result in the incorporation of C dopants within the final crystalline material, i.e. the nature of the condensing sol is also important. The presence of melamine borate did however increase the proportion of rutile in the final mixture (indeed in the presence of melamine borate the pure rutile phase was formed) and also resulted in materials with higher surface areas (as measured using BET). Furthermore, TEM has shown that rutile TiO2 condensed in the presence of melamine borate had a much more distinct rod-like shape than that condensed in its absence (the latter being more spherical in shape). These materials, notwithstanding the absence of any dopant effect, demonstrated enhanced photocatalytic activity when compared with analogous materials prepared in the absence of melamine borate and this effect is ascribed to both their relatively larger surface areas and their specific shape. Therefore, we have serendipitously come across a method for improving the performance of rutile photocatalysts while searching for a method to generate C-doped rutile TiO2.
      480Scopus© Citations 11
  • Publication
    Visible light active C-doped titanate nanotubes prepared via alkaline hydrothermal treatment of C-doped nanoparticulate TiO2: Photo-electrochemical and photocatalytic properties
    Carbon-doped titanate nanotubes (C-TNT) were formed via alkaline hydrothermal treatment of a TiO2 nanoparticulate material pre-doped with carbon. Attempts to form C and W co-doped titanate nanotubes using analogous C and W co-doped nanoparticulate materials were unsuccessful. Physical characterisations, such as X-ray diffraction, N2 physisorption and Transmission Electron Microscopy, confirmed the formation of titanate nanotubes ~7 nm in diameter and hundreds of nm in length with increased surface areas relative to the nanoparticulate precursors. X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy confirmed the retention of substitutional carbon dopant and the exclusion of tungsten dopant from the doped TNT materials. Converting doped (or undoped TiO2) into C-TNT (or TNT) slightly increases the material’s bandgap but the C-TNT material (in contrast to TNT and undoped TiO2) absorbs into the visible region of the spectrum. C-doped and un-doped titanate nanotube materials were more active in promoting the photo degradation of 4-chlorophenol under visible light than their analogous nanoparticulate precursors. C-TNT was the most photocatalytically active material tested. However, photocurrent response measurements showed C-TNT to be less effective at generating current following irradiation than both its nanoparticulate analogue and nanoparticulate P25 when screen printed onto electrode surfaces. We ascribe this to non-optimal alignment of the TNTs on the electrode surface.
      624Scopus© Citations 33
  • Publication
    Application of a novel microwave plasma treatment for the sintering of nickel oxide coatings for use in dye-sensitized solar cells
    In this study the use of microwave plasma sintering of nickel oxide (NiOx) particles for use as p-type photoelectrode coatings in dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) is investigated. NiOx was chosen as the photocathode for this application due to its stability, wide band gap and p-type nature. For high light conversion efficiency DSSCs require a mesoporous structure exhibiting a high surface area. This can be achieved by sintering particles of NiOx onto a conductive substrate. In this study the use of both 2.45 GHz microwave plasma and conventional furnace sintering were compared for the sintering of the NiOx particles. Coatings 1 to 2.5 μm thick were obtained from the sintered particles (mean particle size of 50 nm) on 3 mm thick fluorine-doped tin oxide (FTO) coated glass substrates. Both the furnace and microwave plasma sintering treatments were carried out at ~ 450 °C over a 5 minute period. Dye sensitization was carried out using Erythrosin B and the UV-vis absorption spectra of the NiOx coatings were compared. A 44% increase in the level of dye adsorption was obtained for the microwave plasma sintered samples as compared to that obtained through furnace treatments. While the photovoltaic performance of the DSSC fabricated using the microwave plasma treated NiOx coatings exhibited a tenfold increase in the conversion efficiency in comparison to the furnace treated samples. This enhanced performance was associated with the difference in the mesoporous structure of the sintered NiOx coatings.
      2416Scopus© Citations 44
  • Publication
    Mechanisms for thermal conduction in hydrogen hydrate
    (American Institute of Physics, 2012-01-23) ; ;
    Extensive equilibrium molecular dynamics (MD) simulations have been performed to investigate thermal conduction mechanisms via the Green-Kubo approach for (type II) hydrogen hydrate, at 0.05 kbar and between 30 and 250 K, for both lightly-filled H2 hydrates (1s4l) and for more densely-filled H2 systems (2s4l), in which four H2 molecules are present in the large cavities, with respective single- and double-occupation of the small cages. The TIP4P water model was used in conjunction with a fully atomistic hydrogen potential along with long-range Ewald electrostatics. It was found that substantially less damping in guest-host energy transfer is present in hydrogen hydrate as is observed in common type I clathrates (e.g., methane hydrate), but more akin in to previous results for type II and H methane hydrate polymorphs. This gives rise to larger thermal conductivities relative to common type I hydrates, and also larger than type II and H methane hydrate polymorphs, and a more crystal-like temperature dependence of the thermal conductivity.
      625Scopus© Citations 21
  • Publication
    Photolytic water oxidation catalyzed by a molecular carbene iridium complex
    The complex IrCl2(Cp*)(trz) (trz = triazolylidene), 2, was prepared from readily available 1,3-dimethyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3-triazolium salt. Under basic conditions, the C-bound phenyl group readily cyclometalates, while under acidic conditions, cyclometalation is reversed. The sensitivity of the Caryl–Ir bond but not the Ctrz–Ir bond towards acidolysis provided a basis for using 2 as a catalyst in CeIV-mediated water oxidation. The catalytic activity is characterized by a robust catalytic cycle, affording excellent turnover numbers (TON > 20 000). Under cerium-free conditions and in the presence of hematite as a photoelectrode, light-induced activity was observed. The photoelectrochemical reaction is strongly pH-dependent, which requires pH adjustments when running multiple cycle experiments to regenerate the catalytic activity. Analogous chelating complexes display better stability and higher catalytic activity than the monodentate complex 2.
      405Scopus© Citations 92
  • Publication
    First-principles study of the excited-state properties of coumarin-derived dyes in dye-sensitized solar cells
    Using Time-Dependent Density Functional Theory (TD-DFT), we have investigated the optical properties of dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) comprised of TiO2 nanoparticle sensitized with two coumarins, namely, NKX-2311 and NKX-2593. The two sensitizers (dyes) differ only in their linker moieties and are shown to have different absorption spectra when adsorbed on to the TiO2 surface. Knowledge of different light absorption and charge transfer (CT) behavior within these complexes is useful for further improving the photo-dynamics of newer organic dyes presently being designed and investigated worldwide. Moreover, we have also investigated the effect of deprotonation of the sensitizers' carboxylic groups during adsorption on the titania surface and the excited state electronic properties of the resulting species.
      1277Scopus© Citations 52
  • Publication
    Photo-active and dynamical properties of hematite (Fe2O3)-water interfaces: An experimental and theoretical study
    The dynamical properties of physically and chemically adsorbed water molecules at pristine hematite-(001) surfaces have been studied by means of equilibrium Born–Oppenheimer molecular dynamics (BOMD) in the NVT ensemble at 298 K. The dissociation of water molecules to form chemically adsorbed species was scrutinised, in addition to ‘hopping’ or swapping events of protons between water molecules. Particular foci have been dynamical properties of the adsorbed water molecules and OH− and H3O+ ions, the hydrogen bonds between protons in water molecules and the bridging oxygen atoms at the hematite surface, as well as the interactions between oxygen atoms in adsorbed water molecules and iron atoms at the hematite surface. Experimental results for photoelectrical current generation complement simulation findings of water dissociation.
      455Scopus© Citations 26
  • Publication
    Towards the design of novel boron- and nitrogen-substituted ammonia-borane and bifunctional arene ruthenium catalysts for hydrogen storage
    Electronic-structure density functional theory calculations have been performed to construct the potential energy surface for H2 release from ammonia-borane, with a novel bifunctional cationic ruthenium catalyst based on the sterically bulky β-diketiminato ligand (Schreiber et al., ACS Catal. 2012, 2, 2505). The focus is on identifying both a suitable substitution pattern for ammonia-borane optimized for chemical hydrogen storage and allowing for low-energy dehydrogenation. The interaction of ammonia-borane, and related substituted ammonia-boranes, with a bifunctional η6-arene ruthenium catalyst and associated variants is investigated for dehydrogenation. Interestingly, in a number of cases, hydride-proton transfer from the substituted ammonia-borane to the catalyst undergoes a barrier-less process in the gas phase, with rapid formation of hydrogenated catalyst in the gas phase. Amongst the catalysts considered, N,N-difluoro ammonia-borane and N-phenyl ammonia-borane systems resulted in negative activation energy barriers. However, these types of ammonia-boranes are inherently thermodynamically unstable and undergo barrierless decay in the gas phase. Apart from N,N-difluoro ammonia-borane, the interaction between different types of catalyst and ammonia borane was modeled in the solvent phase, revealing free-energy barriers slightly higher than those in the gas phase. Amongst the various potential candidate Ru-complexes screened, few are found to differ in terms of efficiency for the dehydrogenation (rate-limiting) step. To model dehydrogenation more accurately, a selection of explicit protic solvent molecules was considered, with the goal of lowering energy barriers for H-H recombination. It was found that primary (1°), 2°, and 3° alcohols are the most suitable to enhance reaction rate. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
      447Scopus© Citations 6