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Synthesis, tuning of electrical conductivity and self-assembly of niobium doped titania nanoparticles

Y. Liu, J. Rathousky, T. Bein, D. Fattakhova-Rohlfing
University of Munich (LMU), DE

Keywords: nanoparticles, transparent conducting oxides, self-assembly, mesoporous films


Controlling the synthesis of ultrasmall, stable oxide nanoparticles of different compositions and functionality is a continuing quest of nanoscience. Here we report on a solvothermal procedure that enables the preparation of crystalline niobium-doped and undoped non-agglomerated dispersible titania nanoparticles with a narrow particle size distribution and homogeneous incorporation of doping atoms within the host lattice. We show that the particle size and crystallinity can be controlled by the reaction temperature and time. Significantly, substitutional doping with niobium ions drastically increases the electrical conductivity of the titania particles. In contrast to the titania particles prepared by a solvothermal synthesis in benzyl alcohol, those of similar size and crystallinity synthesized in tert-butanol can be easily dispersed at high concentrations in THF to form stable colloidal dispersions, which can be attributed to different surface chemistry. We demonstrate that the Nb-doped titania nanoparticles can be assembled into regular three-dimensional mesoporous structures with a narrow pore size distribution and high surface area.
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