Nanoparticulated TiO2 materials with anatase structure were synthesized by using a microemulsion method. Three different syntheses with varying surfactant-to-water molar ratio (CD) were used to obtain amorphous solid precipitates at room temperature. The structural characteristics of these solid precursors were studied by using X-ray absorption structure (X-ray absorption near-edge structure and extended X-ray absorption fine structure) and Raman spectroscopies, which showed that all lack 3D (tridimensional) order but contain a different degree of 2D-confmed connectivity. While heating such solid precursors under dry air, marked differences appeared in the phase behavior; the onset temperature for anatase crystallization increases ca. 150 °C while the ω parameter decreases and only one of the samples shows the anatase-to-rutile transformation below 900°C. In all cases, the crystallization of the anatase structure does not follow a traditional nucleation and growth mechanism and its analysis using the Avrami formalism gives conclusive evidence of a surface nucleation-dominated process. This appears as a distinctive feature of anatase-TiO2 nanomaterials, far from the corresponding behavior of microsized or bulk materials. After nucleation, the grain growth of anatase nanoparticles was found to follow the kinetic equation D2 -D02= k0 exp(-Ea/RT), where the activation energy is a function of several structural properties of the solid materials mainly related to the hydration characteristics of the surface layer. A combined in situ X-ray diffraction/Raman/infrared study aimed to unveil the physical basis of the phase behavior and to interpret key variables allowing control of the crystallization mechanism and morphological properties, particularly primary particle size, in the nanometer regime.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films