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Single-step processing of copper-doped titania nanomaterials in a flame aerosol reactor

Manoranjan Sahu and Pratim Biswas*

Author Affiliations

Aerosol and Air Quality Research Laboratory, Department of Energy, Environmental and Chemical Engineering, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO 63130, USA

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2011, 6:441  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-6-441

Published: 6 July 2011

Abstract

Synthesis and characterization of long wavelength visible-light absorption Cu-doped TiO2 nanomaterials with well-controlled properties such as size, composition, morphology, and crystal phase have been demonstrated in a single-step flame aerosol reactor. This has been feasible by a detailed understanding of the formation and growth of nanoparticles in the high-temperature flame region. The important process parameters controlled were: molar feed ratios of precursors, temperature, and residence time in the high-temperature flame region. The ability to vary the crystal phase of the doped nanomaterials while keeping the primary particle size constant has been demonstrated. Results indicate that increasing the copper dopant concentration promotes an anatase to rutile phase transformation, decreased crystalline nature and primary particle size, and better suspension stability. Annealing the Cu-doped TiO2 nanoparticles increased the crystalline nature and changed the morphology from spherical to hexagonal structure. Measurements indicate a band gap narrowing by 0.8 eV (2.51 eV) was achieved at 15-wt.% copper dopant concentration compared to pristine TiO2 (3.31 eV) synthesized under the same flame conditions. The change in the crystal phase, size, and band gap is attributed to replacement of titanium atoms by copper atoms in the TiO2 crystal.