A morphology-controlled facile synthesis of titanium-glycolate precursors with subsequent annealing in He and air atmospheres has been exploited for the production of nanostructured composite globules, whiskers and plates of C-modified titanium dioxide. Characterisation tests proved the as-obtained globule composites to exclusively exhibit high-specific surface area (up to 150–170 m2 g−1), thus being useful for photocatalytic applications in the visible-light region. The combination of the electron paramagnetic resonance, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, absorption spectroscopy and transmission electron microscopy revealed the presence of three kinds of carbon in the globules: a small bandgap (with measured width of 0.8 eV) amorphous carbon surrounding the anatase nanocrystallites, C-containing radicals including carbonates on the surface of TiO2 and interstitial carbon in the oxygen position of the TiO2 lattice. It was found that the maximum visible-light photocatalytic activity of the globules is determined by the optimal surface concentration of amorphous carbon of about 0.002 wt.% m−2. Under these conditions, the highest synergic photosensitising effect on TiO2 nanocrystallites of all three kinds of carbon is expected.
Carbon-modified titanium dioxide synthesis nanostructure spectroscopy optical and photocatalytic properties
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We are grateful to N G Popova, the Foreign Languages Department of the Institute of Law and Philosophy, the Ural Branch of RAS, for the help in preparing the English version of the manuscript. This work was supported by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (grant no. 13-03-00265-a).