Fabrication and characterization of electrospun titania nanofibers
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Titania (TiO2) nanofibers were fabricated by electrospinning three representative spin dopes made of titanium (IV) n-butoxide (TNBT) and polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) with the TNBT/PVP mass ratio being 1/2 in three solvent systems including N,N-dimethylformamide (DMF), isopropanol, and DMF/isopropanol (1/1 mass ratio) mixture, followed by pyrolysis at 500 °C. The detailed morphological and structural properties of both the as-electrospun precursor nanofibers and the resulting final TiO2 nanofibers were characterized by SEM, TEM, and XRD. The results indicated that the precursor nanofibers and the final TiO2 nanofibers made from the spin dopes containing DMF alone or DMF/isopropanol mixture as the solvent had the common cylindrical morphology with diameters ranging from tens to hundreds of nanometers, while those made from the spin dope containing isopropanol alone as the solvent had an abnormal concave morphology with sizes/widths ranging from sub-microns to microns. Despite the morphological discrepancies, all precursor nanofibers were structurally amorphous without distinguishable phase separation, while all final TiO2 nanofibers consisted of anatase-phased TiO2 single-crystalline grains with sizes of approximately 10 nm. The electrospun TiO2 nanofiber mat is expected to significantly outperform other forms (such as powder and film) of TiO2 for the solar cell (particularly dye-sensitized solar cell) and photo-catalysis applications.
KeywordsTiO2 Solar Cell Pyrolysis Temperature Anatase TiO2 Alkoxide Precursor
This research was supported by the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) under the Cooperative Agreement Number (CAN) of FA9453-06-C-0366. TEM study was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, the Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, Office of FreedomCAR and Vehicle Technologies, though the High Temperature Materials Laboratory (HTML) at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).
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