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Room-Temperature Synthesis of Iron-Doped Anatase TiO2 for Lithium-Ion Batteries and Photocatalysis

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journal contribution
posted on 06.10.2014, 00:00 by Christian Andriamiadamanana, Christel Laberty-Robert, Moulay T. Sougrati, Sandra Casale, Carine Davoisne, Snehangshu Patra, Frédéric Sauvage
Iron-doped nanocrystalline particles of anatase TiO2 (denoted x% Fe-TiO2, with x the nominal [Fe] atom % in solution) have been successfully synthesized at room temperature by a controlled two-step process. Hydrolysis of titanium isopropoxide is first achieved to precipitate Ti­(OH)4 species. A fine control of the pH allows one to maintain (i) soluble iron species and (ii) a sluggish solubility of Ti­(OH)4 to promote a dissolution and condensation of titanium clusters incorporating iron, leading to the precipitation of iron-doped anatase TiO2. The pH does then influence both the nature and crystallinity of the final phase. After 2 months of aging at pH = 2, well-dispersed nanocrystalline iron-doped TiO2 particles have been achieved, leading to 5–6 nm particle size and offering a high surface area of ca. 280 m2/g. This dissolution/recrystallization process allows the incorporation of a dopant concentration of up to 7.7 atom %; the successful incorporation of iron in the structure is demonstrated by X-ray diffraction, high-resolution transmission electron microscopy, and Mössbauer spectroscopy. This entails optical-band-gap narrowing from 3.05 to 2.30 eV. The pros and cons effects of doping on the electrochemical properties of TiO2 versus lithium are herein discussed. We reveal that doping improves the power rate capability of the electrode but, in turn, deserves the electrolyte stability, leading to early formation of SEI. Finally, we highlight a beneficial effect of low iron introduction into the anatase lattice for photocatalytic applications under standard AM1.5G visible-light illumination.