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Chemistry. 2013 Apr 15;19(16):5113-9. doi: 10.1002/chem.201202719. Epub 2013 Feb 18.

Enhancing photoactivity of TiO2(B)/anatase core-shell nanofibers by selectively doping cerium ions into the TiO2(B) core.

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College of Chemistry, Chemical and Environmental Engineering, Laboratory of Fiber Materials and Modern Textile, Qingdao University, Qingdao 266071, P.R. China.


Cerium ions (Ce(3+)) can be selectively doped into the TiO2(B) core of TiO2(B)/anatase core-shell nanofibers by means of a simple one-pot hydrothermal treatment of a starting material of hydrogen trititanate (H2Ti3O7) nanofibers. These Ce(3+) ions (≈0.202 nm) are located on the (110) lattice planes of the TiO2(B) core in tunnels (width≈0.297 nm). The introduction of Ce(3+) ions reduces the defects of the TiO2(B) core by inhibiting the faster growth of (110) lattice planes. More importantly, the redox potential of the Ce(3+)/Ce(4+) couple (E°(Ce(3+)/Ce(4+))=1.715 V versus the normal hydrogen electrode) is more negative than the valence band of TiO2(B). Therefore, once the Ce(3+)-doped nanofibers are irradiated by UV light, the doped Ce(3+) ions--in close vicinity to the interface between the TiO2(B) core and anatase nanoshell--can efficiently trap the photogenerated holes. This facilitates the migration of holes from the anatase shell and leaves more photogenerated electrons in the anatase nanoshell, which results in a highly efficient separation of photogenerated charges in the anatase nanoshell. Hence, this enhanced charge-separation mechanism accelerates dye degradation and alcohol oxidation processes. The one-pot treatment doping strategy is also used to selectively dope other metal ions with variable oxidation states such as Co(2+/3+) and Cu(+/2+) ions. The doping substantially improves the photocatalytic activity of the mixed-phase nanofibers. In contrast, the doping of ions with an invariable oxidation state, such as Zn(2+), Ca(2+), or Mg(2+), does not enhance the photoactivity of the mixed-phase nanofibers as the ions could not trap the photogenerated holes.

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