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Crystals 2017, 7(3), 80;

Interface Crystallization of Ceria in Porous Silica Films for Solar Applications

Institute of Non-Metallic Materials, Clausthal University of Technology, Zehntnerstrasse 2A, D-38678 Clausthal-Zellerfeld, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Rui M. Almeida
Received: 9 February 2017 / Accepted: 3 March 2017 / Published: 8 March 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Crystallization of Sol-Gel Derived Glasses)
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Antireflective (AR) coatings with photocatalytic activity for solar cover glasses are extensively investigated at present, mostly in multilayer systems including titania. In this study, bifunctional single coats from porous silica in combination with up to 33 mol % ceria were prepared by sol–gel dip-coating on low-iron soda-lime float glass. After heat treatment for one hour at 350 °C, the coated glasses were characterized. Solar transmittance decreased with increasing ceria content, whereas photocatalytic activity increases. Crystallization of cubic ceria was detected by grazing incidence X-ray diffraction. Chemical depth profiling by secondary neutral mass spectrometry revealed the enrichment of cerium at the coating surface as well as at the interface to the glass substrate. Self-assembled ceria crystallization at the interfaces resulted in a three-layered mesostructure of the coating, which was verified by field-emission scanning electron spectroscopy. Cubic ceria crystals at the interface act as a barrier for the sodium diffusion from the substrate, which prevents the poisoning of the photocatalyst, while those crystals at the surface act as an electron donor for photooxidation processes, both enabling adequate photocatalytic activity. The triple-layer architecture with the sequence of high/low/high refractive index materials allows for optical interference sustaining the AR-function. View Full-Text
Keywords: AR-coating; porous silica; photocatalytic activity; ceria; interface crystallization AR-coating; porous silica; photocatalytic activity; ceria; interface crystallization

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Helsch, G.; Deubener, J. Interface Crystallization of Ceria in Porous Silica Films for Solar Applications. Crystals 2017, 7, 80.

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