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Tailoring the Morphology of Mesoporous Titania Thin Films through Biotemplating with Nanocrystalline Cellulose

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journal contribution
posted on 23.04.2014, 00:00 by Alesja Ivanova, Dina Fattakhova-Rohlfing, Bugra Eymer Kayaalp, Jiri Rathouský, Thomas Bein
The tunable porosity of titania thin films is a key factor for successful applications in photovoltaics, sensing, and photocatalysis. Here, we report on nanocrystalline cellulose (NCC) as a novel shape-persistent templating agent enabling the straightforward synthesis of mesoporous titania thin films. The obtained structures are highly porous anatase morphologies having well-defined, narrow pore size distributions. By varying the titania-to-template ratio, it is possible to tune the surface area, pore size, pore anisotropy, and dimensions of titania crystallites in the films. Moreover, a post-treatment at high humidity and subsequent slow template removal can be used to achieve pore widening; this treatment is also beneficial for the multilayer deposition of thick films. The resulting homogeneous transparent films can be directly spin- or dip- coated on glass, silicon, and transparent conducting oxide (TCO) substrates. The mesoporous titania films show very high activity in the photocatalytic NO conversion and in the degradation of 4-chlorophenol. Furthermore, the films can be successfully applied as anodes in dye-sensitized solar cells.