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Langmuir. 2012 Jul 3;28(26):10072-81. doi: 10.1021/la301450h. Epub 2012 Jun 21.

Tuning the optical properties of mesoporous TiO2 films by nanoscale engineering.

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  • 1Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, Washington 99352, United States.


The optical properties of spin-coated titanium dioxide films have been tuned by introducing mesoscale pores into the inorganic matrix. Differently sized pores were templated using Pluronic triblock copolymers as surfactants in the sol-gel precursor solutions and adjusted by varying the process parameters, such as the polymer concentration, annealing temperature, and time. The change in refractive index observed for different mesoporous anatase films annealed at 350, 400, or 450 °C directly correlates with changes in the pore size. Additionally, the index of refraction is influenced by the film thickness and the density of pores within the films. The band gap of these films is blue-shifted, presumably due to stress the introduction of pores exerts on the inorganic matrix. This study focused on elucidating the effect different templating materials (Pluronic F127 and P123) have on the pore size of the final mesoporous titania film and on understanding the relation of varying the polymer concentration (taking P123 as an example) in the sol-gel solution to the pore density and size in the resultant titania film. Titania thin film samples or corresponding titanium dioxide powders were characterized by X-ray diffraction, cross-section transmission electron microscopy, nitrogen adsorption, ellipsometery, UV/vis spectrometry, and other techniques to understand the interplay between mesoporosity and optical properties.

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