Core-shell nanoparticles for photocatalytic applications

Date: 7 June 2019

Venue: UAntwerp, Campus Groenenborger, Room U.408 - Groenenborgerlaan 171 - 2020 Antwerp (Wilrijk) (route: UAntwerpen, Campus Groenenborger)

Time: 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM

Organization / co-organization: EMAT

Short description: Friday Lecture by Silvia Nuti (EMAT)

Core-shell nanoparticles are among the most versatile nanostructures, as they allow many different combinations when it comes to materials, shapes and sizes.

Photocatalysis is one of the many applications that can benefit from the properties-enhancing effect of nanomaterials. Plasmonic nanoparticles, such as gold and silver ones, can greatly enhance the photocatalytic efficiency of TiO2. To further improve this enhancing effect, electron microscopy and electron tomography are fundamental tools in order to find a link between the structure and the properties of nanomaterials, providing essential information for the development of more efficient nanostructures.

During this lecture I will present my preliminary results and vision of my PhD project, focused on the synthesis, characterization and application of metallic core-TiO2 shell nanoparticles to photocatalysis.

An enhancement of photocatalytic properties has already been reported in literature, but the structure-properties connection has not been deeply studied yet; furthermore, few examples of definite and tunable TiO2 shells have been reported. For this reason, my aim is to finely tune the synthesis of the optimal nanostructures in relation to the photocatalytic application, using electron microscopy as a tool to establish how much the differences in shapes, sizes and also arrangements, can influence the final properties of the materials.

In fact, after the synthesis of optimized nanostructures, a further step will be their arrangements in 2D and 3D assemblies, through air-water interface self-assembly technique. In this framework, some preliminary results concerning the transfer of pure TiO2 nanoparticles to organic non-polar phase, have been obtained, suggesting that the assembly of nanoparticles, characterized by a TiO2 shell, in a thin film over a polar solvent is possible.