Scientific Results

Surface modification, heterojunctions, and other structures: composing metal oxide nanocrystals for chemical sensors

Year: 2015

Authors: Epifani M., Comini E., Diaz R., Genc A., Arbiol J., Andreu T., Siciliano P., Faglia G., Morante JR.

Autors Affiliation: IMM CNR, Ist Microelettron & I Microsistemi, Lecce, Italy;‎ Univ Brescia, Dept Informat Engn, SENSOR Lab, I-25133 Brescia, Italy; CNR INO, I-25133 Brescia, Italy; IMDEA Energy Inst, Electrochem Proc Unit, Mostoles 28935, Spain; ICMAB CSIC, Inst Ciencia Mat Barcelona, Bellaterra 08193, Spain;‎ Inst Catalana Recerca & Estudis Avancats, Barcelona 08010, Cat, Spain; IREC, Catalonia Inst Energy Res, Barcelona 08930, Spain;‎ Univ Barcelona, Dept Elect, XaRMAE M2E IN2UB, E-08028 Barcelona, Spain

Abstract: The modification of the surface reception properties of nanocrystalline structures is of great interest in environmental, catalysis and energy related applications. For instance, an oxide surface covered with a layer of another oxide opens the possibility of creating the nanosized counterparts of bulk catalytic systems. A relevant example is the TiO2-WO3, which is an active catalysts in a broad range of reactions. The chemical synthesis of the colloidal, nanocrystalline version of such system will first be exposed, by coupling suitable sol-gel chemistry with solvothermal processing. Then, the range of obtained structures will be discussed, ranging from WOx-surface modified TiO2 to TiO2-WO3 heterojunctions. The complex structural evolution of the materials will be discussed, depending on the W concentration. A summary of the acetone sensing properties of these systems will be shown. In particular, the surface activation of the otherwise almost inactive pure TiO2 by surface deposition of WO3-like layers will be highlighted. Addition of the smallest W concentration boosted the sensor response to values comparable to those of pure WO3, ranging over 2-3 orders of magnitude of conductance variation in presence of ethanol or acetone gases. Simple analysis of the sensing data will evidence that the combination of such nanocrystalline oxides results in catalytic activation effects, with exactly opposite trend, with respect to pure TiO2, of the activation energies and best responses.

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KeyWords: metal oxide nanocrystals; solvothermal synthesis; gas-sensors; anatase; surface modification

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