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J Phys Chem C Nanomater Interfaces. 2012 Nov 1;116(43):22967-22973. Epub 2012 Oct 4.

Particle Networks from Powder Mixtures: Generation of TiO(2)-SnO(2) Heterojunctions via Surface Charge-Induced Heteroaggregation.

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  • 1Institute of Particle Technology, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg , Cauerstraße 4, 91058 Erlangen, Germany.


We explored the impact of interfacial property changes on aggregation behavior and photoinduced charge separation in mixed metal oxide nanoparticle ensembles. TiO(2) and SnO(2) nanoparticles were synthesized by metal organic chemical vapor synthesis and subsequently transformed into aqueous colloidal dispersions using formic acid for adjustment of the particles' surface charge. Surface charge-induced heteroaggregation was found to yield blended nanoparticle systems of exceptionally high mixing quality and, after vacuum annealing, to extremely high concentrations of heterojunctions between TiO(2) and SnO(2) nanoparticles with dehydroxylated surfaces. For tracking charge transfer processes across heterojunctions, the photogeneration of trapped charge carriers was measured with electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy. On blended nanoparticles systems with high concentrations of SnO(2)-TiO(2) heterojunctions, we observed an enhanced cross section for interparticular charge separation. This results from an effective interfacial charge transfer across the interfaces and gives rise to substantially increased concentrations of electrons and hole centers. The here presented insights are key to the rational design of particle-based heterojunctions and mesoporous nanoparticle networks and help to engineer composite nanomaterials for photocatalysis and solar energy conversion.

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