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Not all titanium dioxide is equal when it comes to splitting water with visible light

March 24, 2009 Share This!

PNNL researchers will be presenting at this year's American Chemical Society 2009 Spring Meeting

Scientists are hot on the trail of materials that use light to break down contaminants for environmental cleanup or split water for hydrogen fuel production. With a splash of UV light, titanium dioxide can do just that, but researchers would like to expand its repertoire to use visible light. Doping, or adding small amounts of another element, can change a metal oxide's characteristics. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory's Michael Henderson and colleagues added nitrogen to different forms of titanium dioxide known as anatase and rutile, and tested how well the nitrogen-doped metal oxides performed. The team measured how a test molecule decomposed as a stand-in for half of the water-splitting reaction — the "oxidation" half of an oxidation-reduction reaction. While both metal oxides decomposed the test molecule under UV, only anatase could break it down in visible light, surprising the researchers. Henderson will talk about properties of doped anatase and rutile that might contribute to their contrasting skills.

Tuesday, March 24, 2:00 - 5:30 PM, Marriot Downtown, Salon H
Photochemical activities of nitrogen doped rutile and anatase surfaces


This work was supported by the Department of Energy's Chemical Sciences Division of Basic Energy Sciences, part of the Office of Science.

Tags: Fundamental Science, EMSL, Chemistry, Catalysis

EMSL, the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory, is a national scientific user facility sponsored by the Department of Energy's Office of Science.  Located at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash., EMSL offers an open, collaborative environment for scientific discovery to researchers around the world. Its integrated computational and experimental resources enable researchers to realize important scientific insights and create new technologies. Follow EMSL on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Interdisciplinary teams at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory address many of America's most pressing issues in energy, the environment and national security through advances in basic and applied science. Founded in 1965, PNNL employs 4,300 staff and has an annual budget of about $950 million. It is managed by Battelle for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science. As the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, the Office of Science is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information on PNNL, visit the PNNL News Center, or follow PNNL on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Twitter.

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