The Effect of Interfacial Chemical Bonding in TiO2-SiO2 Composites on their Photocatalytic NOx Abatement Performance

Amer Hakki, Lu Yang, Fazhou Wang, Donald E MacPhee* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)
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The chemical bonding of particulate photocatalysts to supporting material surfaces is of great importance in engineering more efficient and practical photocatalytic structures. However, the influence of such chemical bonding on the optical and surface properties of the photocatalyst and thus its photocatalytic activity/reaction selectivity behaviour has not been systematically studied. In this investigation, TiO2 has been supported on the surface of SiO2 by means of two different methods; (i) by the in situ formation of TiO2 in the presence of sand quartz via a sol-gel method employing tetrabutyl orthotitanium (TBOT), and (ii) by binding the commercial TiO2 powder to quartz on a surface silica gel layer formed from the reaction of quartz with tetraethylorthosilicate (TEOS). For comparison, TiO2 nanoparticles were also deposited on the surfaces of a more reactive SiO2 prepared by a hydrolysis-controlled sol-gel technique as well as through a sol-gel route from TiO2 and SiO2 precursors. The combination of TiO2 and SiO2, through interfacial Ti-O-Si bonds, was confirmed by FTIR spectroscopy and the photocatalytic activities of the obtained composites were tested for photocatalytic degradation of NO according to the ISO standard method (ISO 22197−1). The electron microscope images of the obtained materials showed that variable photocatalyst coverage of the support surface can successfully be achieved but the photocatalytic activity towards NO removal was found to be affected by the preparation method and the nitrate selectivity is adversely affected by Ti-O-Si bonding.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere56070
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of visualized experiments : JoVE
Issue number125
Early online date7 Apr 2017
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jul 2017

Bibliographical note

The authors gratefully acknowledge funding from the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (Grant Ref: EP/M003299/1) and the Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 51461135005) International Joint Research Project (EPSRC-NSFC).


  • supported TiO2
  • photocatalysis
  • NOx
  • nitrate selectivity
  • environmental pollution
  • air quality


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