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Catalysts 2017, 7(5), 136; doi:10.3390/catal7050136

Photocatalytic Graphene-TiO2 Thin Films Fabricated by Low-Temperature Ultrasonic Vibration-Assisted Spin and Spray Coating in a Sol-Gel Process

1
University of Michigan-Shanghai Jiao Tong University Joint Institute, Shanghai 200240, China
2
State Key Laboratory for Modification of Chemical Fibers and Polymer Materials, College of Materials Science and Engineering, Donghua University, Shanghai 201620, China
3
State Key Laboratory for Composite Materials, School of Materials Science and Engineering, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200240, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Vladimiro Dal Santo and Alberto Naldoni
Received: 29 March 2017 / Revised: 26 April 2017 / Accepted: 27 April 2017 / Published: 2 May 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Titanium Dioxide Photocatalysis)
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Abstract

In this work, we communicate a facile and low temperature synthesis process for the fabrication of graphene-TiO2 photocatalytic composite thin films. A sol-gel chemical route is used to synthesize TiO2 from the precursor solutions and spin and spray coating are used to deposit the films. Excitation of the wet films during the casting process by ultrasonic vibration favorably influences both the sol-gel route and the deposition process, through the following mechanisms. The ultrasound energy imparted to the wet film breaks down the physical bonds of the gel phase. As a result, only a low-temperature post annealing process is required to eliminate the residues to complete the conversion of precursors to TiO2. In addition, ultrasonic vibration creates a nanoscale agitating motion or microstreaming in the liquid film that facilitates mixing of TiO2 and graphene nanosheets. The films made based on the above-mentioned ultrasonic vibration-assisted method and annealed at 150 °C contain both rutile and anatase phases of TiO2, which is the most favorable configuration for photocatalytic applications. The photoinduced and photocatalytic experiments demonstrate effective photocurrent generation and elimination of pollutants by graphene-TiO2 composite thin films fabricated via scalable spray coating and mild temperature processing, the results of which are comparable with those made using lab-scale and energy-intensive processes. View Full-Text
Keywords: photocatalysis; spray coating; ultrasonic vibration; graphene-TiO2; sol-gel; microstreaming photocatalysis; spray coating; ultrasonic vibration; graphene-TiO2; sol-gel; microstreaming
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Zabihi, F.; Ahmadian-Yazdi, M.-R.; Eslamian, M. Photocatalytic Graphene-TiO2 Thin Films Fabricated by Low-Temperature Ultrasonic Vibration-Assisted Spin and Spray Coating in a Sol-Gel Process. Catalysts 2017, 7, 136.

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