Visible-light-induced photocatalysis through surface plasmon excitation of gold on titania surfaces

Ewa Kowalska, Orlando Omar Prieto Mahaney, Ryu Abe, Bunsho Ohtani

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Fifteen commercial titania (titanium(iv) oxide; TiO2) powders were modified with gold by photodeposition to prepare photocatalysts that work under irradiation with light in the visible range (vis). The gold-modified titania (Au/TiO2) powders were characterized by diffuse reflectance spectroscopy (DRS), field-emission scanning electron microscopy (FE-SEM), scanning transmission microscopy (STEM) and X-ray powder diffraction (XRD). It was shown that all tested powders could absorb visible light with an absorption maximum at localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) wavelengths (530-600 nm) and that the size and shape of gold nanoparticles determined the absorption ranges. The photocatalytic activity of Au/TiO2 powders was examined both under ultraviolet and vis irradiation (mainly >450 nm) for acetic acid and 2-propanol photooxidation. It was found that the activity depended strongly on gold and titania properties, such as particle size and shape, surface area and crystalline form. Under vis irradiation, large rutile particles loaded with gold particles of a wide range of sizes showed the highest level of photocatalytic activity, possibly due to greater light absorption ability in a wide wavelength range resulting from transverse and longitudinal LSPR of rod-like gold particles. Action spectrum analyses showed that visible-light-induced oxidation of organic compounds by aerated gold-titania suspensions was initiated by excitation of LSPR absorption of gold. Although photocatalytic activity of nanosized gold particles under vis irradiation with a wavelength of ca. 430 nm and catalytic activity of gold-modified titania during dark reactions were also found, it was shown that the activities of Au/TiO 2 particles originated from activation of LSPR of gold by light of wavelength of 530-650 nm. Participation of molecular oxygen as an electron acceptor and titania as a conductor of electrons is suggested by comparing with results obtained under deaerated conditions and results obtained using a system containing gold-deposited silica instead of gold-titania, respectively. On the basis of these results, the mechanism of visible-light-induced oxidation of organic compounds on gold-titania is proposed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2344-2355
Number of pages12
JournalPhysical Chemistry Chemical Physics
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 14 Mar 2010
Externally publishedYes

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