Titanium dioxide, a wide-bandgap semiconductor, has long been used by many researchers for a wide range of applications. Specifically, its low cost, wide availability, and high catalytic activity makes it very promising to be used for a wide plethora of applications which includes (but not limited to) photocatalytic pollutant degradation, VOC elimination, the design of superhydrophobic surfaces, and hydrogen generation.
Nevertheless, despite its promising applications, titanium dioxide remains of limited use in the commercial processes because modifications are needed to fine-tune its properties and be suited for its intended end use. Doping, for example, is needed to improve its catalytic properties in the visible light range and thus eliminate the need for UV light for photo-activation. Immobilization is usually necessary so that the need for high-end ultra purification of nano-sized titania during downstream processing can be eliminated. More often than not, such modifications involve very expensive synthesis and characterization. On the lab scale, such costs are manageable. Yet on an industrial scale, characterization costs could outweigh the benefits that can be gained from this wonderful material.
Hence, there is a need to investigate new synthesis protocols to minimize the costs associated with current methods in synthesizing nano-sized titania. More specifically, there is a need to optimize the synthesis parameters and fine-tune it for specific applications while minimizing the costs involved.
In our lab, we are working on electrochemical means of synthesizing nanomaterials. Electrochemical synthesis is not new. In fact, it has been used for ages in the electroplating industry. In this approach, we use an applied potential to drive chemical reactions. With the help of redox processes occurring in the electrochemical cell, nanomaterials such as nano-titania can be synthesized and tailored to achieve specific ordering and desired geometries. While electrochemical methods such as anodization and electrodeposition have been studied in the past, we are working on improving the said processes by optimizing key process parameters necessary to obtain self-ordered nano-titania in various substrates.
Currently, we are working on the electrochemical synthesis of nano-titania for photocatalytic degradation of recalcitrant organic pollutants such as textile dyes.
Recently, our work entitled “Highly-organized One-dimensional Copper-doped Titanium Dioxide Nanotubes for Photoelectrocatalytic Degradation of Acid Orange 52” was presented in the 4th International on Composite Materials and Material Engineering (ICCMME 2019) which was held in Tokyo University of Science, Kagurazaka Campus, Tokyo, Japan last January 19-22, 2019.
The above work stemmed from my previous study on silver-doped titanium dioxide nanotubes synthesized by anodization for photoelectrocatalytic degradation of textile dyes. The said study was presented last year at the 7th International Conference on Materials Science and Engineering Technology (ICMSET 2018) which was held at the Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications in Beijing, China last October 20-22, 2018.