TiO2@NbSe2 decorated nanocomposites for efficient visible-light photocatalysis

  • Ramsha Khan
  • Adeel Riaz
  • Muhammad Rabeel
  • Sofia JavedEmail author
  • Rahim Jan
  • Muhammad Aftab Akram
Original Article


In this article, 2D NbSe2 nanosheets are combined with TiO2 nanoparticles to prepare visible-light active composite photocatalysts using sol gel reflux synthesis. The concentration of NbSe2 is varied as 0.5, 1, 2 and 3 weight percent with respect to TiO2. The prepared samples are characterized via scanning electron microscopy (SEM), atomic force microscopy (AFM), X-ray diffraction (XRD), UV–Vis spectroscopy and Brunauer–Emmett–Teller (BET) surface area measurement techniques to determine morphology, dimensional aspects of nanosheets, phase, optical properties and surface area of the nanocomposites, respectively. From SEM images TiO2 nanoparticles are observed on the surface of NbSe2 sheets in all the samples. AFM gives an estimate of thickness of NbSe2 nanosheets ranging from 25 to 40 nm corresponding to 30–50 layers. XRD confirms the presence of both components in nanocomposites. UV–Vis spectrum of NbSe2 nanosheets reveals its visible-light absorption capability and a narrow band gap. The surface area values as obtained from BET technique vary from 120 m2/g for TiO2 NPs alone to 162 m2/g for 2 wt% NbSe2 in TiO2 nanocomposites. To study the visible-light photocatalytic behavior the composites are employed for the photodegradation of rhodamine B (RhB) dye under visible-light irradiation. The prepared nanocomposites substantiate to be highly effective photocatalysts for degradation of organic dye due to visible-light absorption offered by NbSe2 together with increased surface area. The sample having 2 wt% NbSe2 shows best performance with almost complete (i.e., 98%) RhB degradation in just 60 min of visible-light irradiation. NbSe2 can facilitate the increased induction of electrons into the CB of TiO2 by visible-light absorption and higher surface area in composites also adds to substantially improved photocatalytic activity exhibited by the nanocomposites.


TiO2@NbSe2 2D Nanomaterials Photocatalysis Nanocomposites Sol-gel refluxing Liquid phase exfoliation 



This work is supported by research funding obtained for NRPU project no. 6014 from Higher Education Commission (HEC) of Pakistan.

Supplementary material

13204_2019_1020_MOESM1_ESM.docx (212 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 212 KB)


  1. Asahi R, Morikawa T, Ohwaki T, Taga Y (2001) Visible-light photocatalysis in nitrogen-doped titanium oxides. Science 293:269–271. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Cavallo C, Di Pascasio F, Latini A, Bonomo M, Dini D, Regan BO, Gr M (2017) Nanostructured semiconductor materials for dye-sensitized solar cells. J Nanomater. Google Scholar
  3. Chhowalla M, Shin HS, Eda G, Li L, Loh KP, Zhang H (2013) The chemistry of two-dimensional layered transition metal dichalcogenide nanosheets. Nat Publ Gr 5:263–275. Google Scholar
  4. Gu L, Wang J, Zou Z, Han X (2014) Graphitic-C3N4-hybridized TiO2 nanosheets with reactive {001} facets to enhance the UV- and visible-light photocatalytic activity. J Hazard Mater 268:216–223. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Ho W, Yu JC, Lin J, Yu J, Li P (2004) Preparation and photocatalytic behavior of MoS2 and WS2 nanocluster sensitized TiO2. Langmuir 20:5865–5869. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Huo C, Yan Z, Song X, Zeng H (2015) 2D materials via liquid exfoliation: a review on fabrication and applications. Sci Bull 60:1994–2008. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Hwang MJ, Han SW, Nguyen TB, Hong SC, Ryu KS (2012) Preparation of MoO3/MoS2/TiO2 composites for catalytic degradation of methylene blue. J Nanosci Nanotechnol 12:5884–5891. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Javed S, Mujahid M, Islam M, Manzoor U (2012) Morphological effects of reflux condensation on nanocrystalline anatase gel and thin films. Mater Chem Phys 132:509–514. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Jothivenkatachalam K, Prabhu S, Nithya A, Jeganathan K (2014) Facile synthesis of WO3 with reduced particle size on zeolite and enhanced photocatalytic activity. RSC Adv 4:21221–21229. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Javed S, Islam M, Mujahid M (2018) Synthesis and characterization of TiO2 quantum dots by sol gel reflux condensation method. Ceram Int. Google Scholar
  11. Khan R, Javed S, Islam M (2018a) Hierarchical nanostructures of titanium dioxide: synthesis and applications, titan dioxide. Mater Sustain Environ. Google Scholar
  12. Khan R, Riaz A, Javed S, Jan R, Akram MA, Mujahid M (2018b) Synthesis and characterization of MoS2/TiO2 nanocomposites for enhanced photocatalytic degradation of methylene blue under sunlight irradiation, vol 778, pp 137–143.
  13. Lakshmi S, Renganathan R, Fujita S (1995) Study on TiO2-mediated photocatalytic degradation of methylene blue. J Photochem Photobiol A Chem 88:163–167. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Li X, Chen Y, Cheng Z, Jia L, Mo S, Liu Z (2014a) Ultrahigh specific surface area of graphene for eliminating subcooling of water. Appl Energy 130:824–829. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Li H, Wu J, Yin Z, Zhang H (2014b) Preparation and applications of mechanically exfoliated single-layer and multilayer MoS 2 and WSe 2 nanosheets. Acc Chem Res 47:1067–1075. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Luna-Flores A, Sosa-Sánchez JL, Morales-Sánchez MA, Agustín-Serrano R, Luna-López JA (2017) An easy-made, economical and efficient carbon-doped amorphous TiO2 photocatalyst obtained bymicrowave assisted synthesis for the degradation of Rhodamine B. Materials (Basel). Google Scholar
  17. Luttrell T, Halpegamage S, Tao J, Kramer A, Sutter E, Batzill M (2014) Why is anatase a better photocatalyst than rutile?--model studies on epitaxial TiO2 films. Sci Rep 4:4043. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. O’Neill A, Khan U, Coleman JN (2012) Preparation of high concentration dispersions of exfoliated MoS 2 with increased flake size. Chem Mater 24:2414–2421. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Samsudin EM, Hamid SBA, Juan JC, Basirun WJ, Kandjani AE (2015) Surface modification of mixed-phase hydrogenated TiO2 and corresponding photocatalytic response. Appl Surf Sci 359:883–896. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Wang WS, Wang DH, Qu WG, Lu LQ, Xu aW (2012) Large ultrathin anatase TiO2 nanosheets with exposed {001} facets on graphene for enhanced visible light photocatalytic activity. J Phys Chem C 116:19893–19901. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Wiser SK, Bellingham PJ, Burrows LE (2001) Managing biodiversity information: development of New Zealand’s national vegetation survey databank. N Z J Ecol 25:1–17. Google Scholar
  22. Wu J, Xu F, Li S, Ma P, Zhang X, Liu Q, Fu R, Wu D (2019) Porous polymers as multifunctional material platforms toward task-specific applications. Adv Mater 31:1–45. Google Scholar
  23. Yu G, Pellegrini V, Stoller M, Tozzini V, Ruoff RS, Bonaccorso F, Colombo L, Ferrari AC (2015) Graphene, related two-dimensional crystals, and hybrid systems for energy conversion and storage. Science 347:1246501–1246501. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Zhang L, Zhao N, Xu J (2014) Fabrication and application of superhydrophilic surfaces: a review. J Adhes Sci Technol 28:769–790. CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ramsha Khan
    • 1
  • Adeel Riaz
    • 1
  • Muhammad Rabeel
    • 1
  • Sofia Javed
    • 1
    Email author
  • Rahim Jan
    • 1
  • Muhammad Aftab Akram
    • 1
  1. 1.Nanosynthesis Laboratory, School of Chemical and Materials EngineeringNational University of Sciences and TechnologyIslamabadPakistan

Personalised recommendations