Brennan Coulter
Jun 28, 2012

Controlling The Structure of Titanium Dioxide

Researchers at North Carolina State University (NCSU) have developed a new “phase tuning” technique for controlling the crystalline structure of titanium dioxide at room temperature. Using the technique, the NCSU team can now control and stabilize the phase of historically unstable titanium dioxide. The process follows the principles of domain matching epitaxy, the layer-by-layer growth on a substrate from molecules in a solution. Beginning with a sapphire substrate of desired crystalline structure, a thin titanium trioxide layer is grown, mimicking the substrate’s structure. This titanium trioxide layer serves as a guide for the desired titanium dioxide layer that follows it, dictating it synonymous but differing structure. According to an NCSU news release this development improves titanium dioxide efficiency for a range of applications including “photovoltaic cells, hydrogen production, antimicrobial coatings, smart sensors and optical communication technologies.”