Fabricating highly active mixed phase TiO2 photocatalysts by reactive DC magnetron sputter deposition

Le Chen*, Michael E. Graham, Gonghu Li, Kimberly A. Gray

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

89 Scopus citations


Recent work points out the importance of the solid-solid interface in explaining the high photoactivity of mixed phase TiO2 catalysts. The goal of this research is to probe the structural and functional relationships of the solid-solid interface created by the reactive DC magnetron sputtering of titanium dioxide. We show that sputter deposition provides excellent control of the phase and interface formation. We explored the effects of the process parameters of pressure, oxygen partial pressure, target power, substrate bias (RF), deposition incidence angle, and post annealing treatment on the structural and functional characteristics of the catalysts. We have successfully made pure and mixed phase TiO2 films. These films were characterized with AFM, SEM, TEM, and XRD to determine surface morphology, phase distribution and phase content. The performance as photocatalytic surfaces was measured and compared (normalized for surface area) to mixed phase TiO2 fabricated by other methods, including flame hydrolysis powders, and sol-gel deposited TiO2 films. The sputtered mixed phase materials were far superior to the commercial standard (Degussa P25) and sol-gel TiO2 as measured by the gas phase oxidation of the air pollutant acetaldehyde under UV illumination. These results demonstrate that reactive DC magnetron sputtering is a powerful tool for investigating the role of the solid-solid interface in influencing photocatalytic activity. In addition, our work illustrates the feasibility of reactive DC magnetron sputtering as a practical commercial technique for manufacturing highly active nanostructured TiO2 photocatalysts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1176-1181
Number of pages6
JournalThin Solid Films
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 23 2006


  • Anatase
  • Magnetron sputtering
  • Rutile
  • Titanium oxide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Metals and Alloys
  • Materials Chemistry

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