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PRODUCTION OF ANATASE TIO2 NANOCRYSTALS USING FREEZE-DRY PROCESS

Lucas Splingaire
Mechanical Engineering Department, Bradley University, Peoria, IL, USA

Holly Korte
Mechanical Engineering Department, Bradley University, Peoria, IL, USA

Udo Schnupf
Mund-Lagowski Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Bradley University, Peoria, IL, USA

Kazuhiro Manseki
Department of Chemistry and Biomolecular Science, Gifu University, Gifu, Japan.

Takashi Sugiura
Department of Chemistry and Biomolecular Science, Gifu University, Gifu, Japan.

Saeid Vafaei
Mechanical Engineering Department, Bradley University, Peoria, IL, USA

DOI: 10.1615/TFEC2020.sol.031819
pages 593-602

Abstract

TiO2 nanoparticles are often used as a photoanode material in dye-sensitized solar cells. Sintered together, the TiO2 particles are often conducted at 500°C, to provide porous TiO2 thin films. Anatase TiO2 nanoparticles with the dimensions of around 20-30 nm are routinely used to facilitate better electron transport and high dye-adsorption capacity in the film. Prior experiments on the solution synthesis of TiO2 suggested that dimethylformamide (DMF) plays a crucial role in the formation of DMF-containing amorphous TiO2 precursors in solution, adaptable for creating size-controlled TiO2 nanoparticles in the following high temperature process. It was observed that subsequent sintering process of the precursor at 500°C produced Anatase TiO2 nanoparticles with the sizes of around 20 nm. The purpose of this research is to discover a method of obtaining Anatase TiO2 semiconductor nanocrystals using low-temperature process without using a high temperature oven. The amorphous TiO2 precursors were prepared at 40°C using an aqueous TiCl4 solution as a Titanium compound and DMF as a structure directing agent. A new method involved the creation of the semiconductor nanoparticles through freeze-dry the resultant TiO2 antecedents in order to produce a crystalline powder. The size, shape and crystal phase of TiO2 particles were also characterized using a transmission electron microscope (TEM) and X-ray diffraction (XRD). It was found that Anatase nanoparticles formed with freeze-dry process of amorphous TiO2 precursors. This allowed us to produce crystalline TiO2 at a low temperature.

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