Nano wire/CNT stack forms better photocatalytically active filter

University of Szeged and Rice University scientists built up a multilayered photocatalyst from titanate nanowires and carbon nanotubes. The experiment results show that the stacks of nanotubes and nanowires have a unique morphology, layered structure, and favorable density that improves photocatalytic operation in multifunctional systems, such as artificial photosynthesis.

May 31, 2011 — University of Szeged and Rice University scientists built up a multilayered photocatalyst from titanate nanowires and carbon nanotubes (CNT). The experiment results show that the stacks of nanotubes and nanowires have a unique morphology, layered structure, and favorable density that improves photocatalytic operation in multifunctional systems, such as artificial photosynthesis.

The researchers demonstrated the characterization and application of a macroscale architecture made via layer-by-layer deposition of titanate (anatase) nanowires and CNTs (shown below). The anatase layer is a photocatalyst; the CNT layer’s unique morphology creates uniform pore size distribution. The combination makes this material a good candidate for multifunctional operation: as a filter and a photocatalyst at once.

The sandwich structures made of multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNT) and TiO2 nanomaterials generated from titanate nanowires outperformed a similar system generated from nanoparticular TiO2.

Photocatalyst materials enhance light-induced reactions, which are used for water splitting, and artificial photosynthesis. Nanoparticles, nanowires and nanotubes of noble metals and different oxides are effective forms of nanosized catalyst materials, as smaller particles offer larger specific surface areas, enabling more active heterogeneous catalysis.

Researchers from the Department of Applied and Environmental Chemistry, University of Szeged (Hungary) and the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, Rice University (Texas, US) conducted the experiment. The teams have been working together on EU 6 and 7 collaborative projects, among others, for 10 years. Authors include Maria Daranyi and Tamas Csesznok (PhD students); Akos Kukovecz, Zoltan Konya, and Imre Kiricsi (University of Szeged professors); and Pulickel M. Ajayan and Robert Vajtai (Rice University faculty).

The researchers presented their results in the journal Nanotechnology. Access the article here: http://iopscience.iop.org/0957-4484/22/19/195701/

Learn more at www.rice.edu

Also read: Photosynthesis or photovoltaics: Weighing the impact and Solar energy without semiconductors

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