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Effect of the Nature of the Metal Co-Catalyst on CO2 Photoreduction Using Fast-Grown Periodically Modulated Titanium Dioxide Nanotube Arrays (PMTiNTs)

  • Babak Amirsolaimani (a1), Xiaojiang Zhang (a1) (a2), Fei Han (a2), Samira Farsinezhad (a1), Arash Mohammadpour (a1), Greg Dechaine (a2) and Karthik Shankar (a1) (a3)...

Abstract

Anodically formed TiO2 nanotube arrays composed of the anatase phase with periodically modulated diameters (PMTiNTs) are excellent photocatalysts for the sunlight-driven transformation of carbon dioxide into hydrocarbons. Exploiting the full potential of this nanoarchitecture for CO2 photoreduction requires integration with metal nanoparticles that function as catalytic promoters for multistep electron transfer reactions. We studied the effect of different metallic and bimetallic nanoparticles on the rate of generation of light hydrocarbons by the photoreduction of CO2. All the metal nanoparticles were loaded on to the TiO2nanotubes using the technique of photodeposition, which standardized the coating process and enabled examination purely of the effect of different metals. Photodeposition was used not only due to its simplicity but also because it enabled us to engineer very fine coatings possessing excellent uniformity and depth penetration into the nanotubes. The best performing co-catalysts were found to be CuPt (atomic ratio of 0.33:0.67), Pt and NiPt (1:2), which when loaded onto the PMTiNTs yielded total hydrocarbon generation rates of 3.5, 0.85 and 0.8 mL g-1 hr-1 respectively. The time required to form PMTiNTs was reduced by a factor of 160 by using a recently reported recipe based on fluoride ion bearing electrolyte containing lactic acid. PMTiNTs formed using the ultrafast growth lactic acid-based electrolytes exhibited similar photocatalytic properties to samples obtained more slowly using conventional ethylene glycol-based electrolytes.

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