Nanosized Titania, a Smart Material or is it just Clever?
Titanium oxide (TiO2) nanopowders can be reproducibly formed by hydroxylation of titanium organic complexes. The crystallisation to anatase and rutile can be controlled by systematic calcination and a complex range of properties optimized for specific applications. Characterisation of the powders has been undertaken using advanced physical techniques. The morphology of the TiO2 powders is determined by solution concentration and precipitation phenomena, particularly temperature and stirring regime. However the fine powders have limitations in terms of processing flexibility particularly when nanostructured and organised features are desired, due to their fine particle structure and inability to be sintered without undergoing complete phase change. Anodising titanium metal can overcome these difficulties and under appropriate conditions semi-ordered nanotubes of TiO2 have been prepared. These can be heat treated to develop the phase of choice, anatase or rutile. A mechanism for the formation of the nanotubes has been proposed which is based on the linkage of pores developed in the anodized oxidation product. The pores are driven to into alignment by the applied potential and link up to form the tubular structures. A degree of control of the tube size and wall thickness is shown possible by control of applied voltage. The nanotubes have been investigated using SEM, TEM, XRD and Raman spectroscopy to elucidate the structure and postulate the formation mechanism.
R. Stevens et al., "Nanosized Titania, a Smart Material or is it just Clever? ", Advanced Materials Research, Vols. 55-57, pp. 23-26, 2008