Multicolor photochromism of silver-containing mesoporous films of amorphous or anatase TiO2
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Mesoporous TiO2 films loaded with silver nanoparticles grown photocatalytically, which are initially brown, change their color under visible laser irradiations. In this article, we compare the multicolor photochromisms of amorphous and anatase phases of TiO2. The mesoporous films are impregnated with silver salt and then exposed to a low-intensity UV laser light to grow silver nanoparticles. The Ag–TiO2 films are then exposed to visible laser beams, and the influences of several exposure parameters on the photochromic behavior are examined. Most of the previous studies have reported a poor stability of the photoinduced colors under day light or even in the dark, and few of them demonstrated the ability to get various colors on the same sample. These inconveniences limit the application field of such materials. On the other hand, except in our previous studies, only crystalline TiO2 is generally used, in its anatase or rutile phase. In this article we show that mesoporous films of amorphous and anatase phases of TiO2 respond in an efficient manner to light excitation and that multiple colors can be obtained on both kinds of films. For the first time on such Ag–TiO2 films we show that the various photoinduced colors are stable over considerable months. Visible intensity is shown to have a significant influence on the film behavior, which was not identified in previous studies. The laser-induced spectral changes are also shown to depend on the incident laser polarization. The photochromic behaviors are characterized in terms of color changes and spectral variations. The reproducibility of the photochromic process along reduction/oxidation cycles is demonstrated, and the stability of different laser-induced colors is reported on 6-month-old samples.
KeywordsSilver nanoparticles Titanium dioxide Thin films Photochromism Anatase
The authors thank R. Vera from the University of Lyon for gathering the XRD data. The current study is supported by ANR within the framework of project UPCOLOR n JCJC 2010 1002 1.
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