The preparation of TiO2-based nanoparticles of closely controlled sizes and purity gives rise to considerable interest in the frame of environmental applications, e.g. in photocatalysis. When nanoparticles instead of their bulk counterpart are used the synthesis method plays a fundamental role in defining specific structural properties. Between the different gas-phase synthesis techniques, the CO2 laser pyrolysis is a versatile method allowing for the preparation of nanostructures of various chemical compositions. Here we demonstrate that pure and Fe-doped TiO2 nanoparticles with rather low Fe concentration may be prepared by applying the sensitized IR laser pyrolysis to a gas mixtures containing titanium tetrachloride, air and iron pentacarbonyl (vapors). The structures of TiO2-based particles were systematically investigated by X-ray diffraction, transmission electron microscopy, high-resolution electron microscopy, selected area electron diffraction and X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy. Depending on the synthesis parameters, the nanoparticle system contains mixtures of anatase and rutile, with a preponderance of the anatase phase. Higher rutile proportion was found in the iron-doped samples. Mean particle diameters of around 14 nm and 12 nm were estimated for undoped and doped anatase titania, respectively. From UV-Vis diffuse reflectance spectra, higher absorbance and red shifted absorption were evidenced at higher amount of doped iron. Preliminary evaluation tests of the UV photoactivity of samples were performed by using the scanning electrochemical microscopy for determining the evolution of the oxygen consumption in the presence of IV-chlorophenol. They show that the undoped nano titania samples perform better than the reference P25 Degussa sample. A drop of the nano-titania photoactivity as a consequence of Fe doping was observed. Possible reasons of this effect are tentatively discussed. ?? 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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