The electronic structure of the TiO2 (110) surface interfaced with both a semiconducting and metallic carbon nanotube (CNT) was investigated by density functional theory. Our simulations rationalized visible light photocatalytic activity of CNT/TiO2 hybrid materials higher than that under ultraviolent irradiation and showed that the photoactivity of a semiconducting CNT decorating TiO2 is better than that of the metallic CNT/TiO2 system due to efficient charge separation across the interface. This suggests that semiconducting CNT/TiO2 could be a potential photovoltaic material. In contrast, strong interaction between a metallic CNT and TiO2 leads to large charge transfer. Such charge transfer reduces the built-in potential, in turn resulting in inefficient charge separation. Functionalizing the metallic CNT with a small platinum cluster can increase the built-in potential and drive charge separation. These observations indicate that the CNT/TiO2 interface can be a potential photovoltaic material by a metal cluster decorating a CNT despite a real tube being composed of the mixture of metallic and semiconducting CNTs.
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