Sol–gel synthesis of mesoporous WO3–TiO2 composite thin films for photochromic devices
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- Djaoued, Y., Balaji, S. & Beaudoin, N. J Sol-Gel Sci Technol (2013) 65: 374. doi:10.1007/s10971-012-2948-7
Mesoporous WO3–TiO2 composite films were prepared by a sol gel based two stage dip coating method and subsequent annealing at 450, 500 and 600 °C. An organically modified silicate based templating strategy was adopted in order to obtain a mesoporous structure. The composite films were prepared on ITO coated glass substrates. The porosity, morphology, and microstructures of the resultant products were characterized by scanning electron microscopy, N2 adsorption–desorption measurements, μ-Raman spectroscopy and X-ray diffraction. Calcination of the films at 450, and 500 °C resulted in mixed hexagonal (h) plus monoclinic phases, and pure monoclinic (m) phase of WO3, respectively. The degree of crystallization of TiO2 present in these composite films was not evident. The composite films annealed at 600 °C, however, consist of orthorhombic (o) WO3 and anatase TiO2. It was found that the o-WO3 phase was stabilized by nanocrystalline anatase TiO2. The thus obtained mesoporous WO3–TiO2 composite films were dye sensitized and applied for the construction of photochromic devices. The device constructed using dye sensitized WO3–TiO2 composite layer heat treated at 600 °C showed an optical modulation of 51 % in the NIR region, whereas the devices based on the composite layers heat treated at 450, and 500 °C showed only a moderate optical modulation of 24.9, and 38 %, respectively. This remarkable difference in the transmittance response is attributed to nanocrystalline anatase TiO2 embedded in the orthorhombic WO3 matrix of the WO3–TiO2 composite layer annealed at 600 °C.