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Structure of a model TiO2 photocatalytic interface

Tocci, G; Hussain, H; woolcot, T; torrelles, X; Pang, CL; Humphrey, DS; Yim, CM; ... Thornton, G; + view all (2016) Structure of a model TiO2 photocatalytic interface. Nature Materials , 16 (4) pp. 461-466. 10.1038/nmat4793. Green open access

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Abstract

The interaction of water with TiO2 is crucial to many of its practical applications, including photocatalytic water splitting. Following the first demonstration of this phenomenon 40 years ago there have been numerous studies of the rutile single-crystal TiO2(110) interface with water. This has provided an atomic-level understanding of the water–TiO2 interaction. However, nearly all of the previous studies of water/TiO2 interfaces involve water in the vapour phase. Here, we explore the interfacial structure between liquid water and a rutile TiO2(110) surface pre-characterized at the atomic level. Scanning tunnelling microscopy and surface X-ray diffraction are used to determine the structure, which is comprised of an ordered array of hydroxyl molecules with molecular water in the second layer. Static and dynamic density functional theory calculations suggest that a possible mechanism for formation of the hydroxyl overlayer involves the mixed adsorption of O2 and H2O on a partially defected surface. The quantitative structural properties derived here provide a basis with which to explore the atomistic properties and hence mechanisms involved in TiO2 photocatalysis.

Type: Article
Title: Structure of a model TiO2 photocatalytic interface
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1038/nmat4793
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1038/nmat4793
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Scanning probe microscopy, Surfaces, interfaces and thin films
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Chemistry
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Physics and Astronomy
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1522663
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