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Green Synthesis of Biphasic TiO2–Reduced Graphene Oxide Nanocomposites with Highly Enhanced Photocatalytic Activity

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journal contribution
posted on 22.08.2012, 00:00 authored by Md. Selim Arif Sher Shah, A Reum Park, Kan Zhang, Jong Hyeok Park, Pil J. Yoo
A series of TiO2–reduced graphene oxide (RGO) nanocomposites were prepared by simple one-step hydrothermal reactions using the titania precursor, TiCl4 and graphene oxide (GO) without reducing agents. Hydrolysis of TiCl4 and mild reduction of GO were simultaneously carried out under hydrothermal conditions. While conventional approaches mostly utilize multistep chemical methods wherein strong reducing agents, such as hydrazine, hydroquinone, and sodium borohydride are employed, our method provides the notable advantages of a single step reaction without employing toxic solvents or reducing agents, thereby providing a novel green synthetic route to produce the nanocomposites of RGO and TiO2. The as-synthesized nanocomposites were characterized by several crystallographic, microscopic, and spectroscopic characterization methods, which enabled confrimation of the robustness of the suggested reaction scheme. Notably, X-ray diffraction and transmission electron micrograph proved that TiO2 contained both anatase and rutile phases. In addition, the photocatalytic activities of the synthesized composites were measured for the degradation of rhodamine B dye. The catalyst also can degrade a colorless dye such as benzoic acid under visible light. The synthesized nanocomposites of biphasic TiO2 with RGO showed enhanced catalytic activity compared to conventional TiO2 photocatalyst, P25. The photocatalytic activity is strongly affected by the concentration of RGO in the nanocomposites, with the best photocatalytic activity observed for the composite of 2.0 wt % RGO. Since the synthesized biphasic TiO2–RGO nanocomposites have been shown to effectively reduce the electron–hole recombination rate, it is anticipated that they will be utilized as anode materials in lithium ion batteries.