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ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2017 Mar 8;9(9):7891-7896. doi: 10.1021/acsami.6b16449. Epub 2017 Feb 27.

Anatase (101)-like Structural Model Revealed for Metastable Rutile TiO2(011) Surface.

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Beijing Computational Science Research Center , Beijing 100084, China.


Titanium dioxide has been widely used as an efficient transition metal oxide photocatalyst. However, its photocatalytic activity is limited to the ultraviolet spectrum range due to the large bandgap beyond 3 eV. Efforts to reduce the bandgap to achieve a broader spectrum range of light absorption have been successfully attempted via the experimental synthesis of dopant-free metastable surface structures of rutile-type TiO2 (011) 2 × 1. This new surface phase possesses a reduced bandgap of ∼2.1 eV, showing great potential for an excellent photocatalyst covering a wide range of visible light. There is a need to establish the atomistic structure of this metastable surface to understand the physical cause for the bandgap reduction and to improve the future design of photocatalysts. Here, we report computational investigations in an effort to unravel this surface structure via swarm structure-searching simulations. The established structure adopts the anatase (101)-like structure model, where the topmost 2-fold O atoms form a quasi-hexagonal surface pattern and bond with the unsaturated 5-fold and 4-fold Ti atoms in the next layer. The predicted anatase (101)-like surface model can naturally explain the experimental observation of the STM images, the electronic bandgap, and the oxidation state of Ti4+. Dangling bonds on the anatase (101)-like surface are abundant making it a superior photocatalyst. First-principles molecular dynamics simulations have supported the high photocatalytic activity by showing that water and formic acid molecules dissociate spontaneously on the anatase (101)-like surface.


CALYPSO; anatase; dopant-free; reduced bandgap; surface reconstruction; titanium dioxide


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