Applied Surface Science, Vol.475, 710-719, 2019
Photosensitized TiO2 films on polymers - Titania-polymer interactions and visible light induced photoactivity
Photocatalytic coatings at polymers, showing a visible light induced photoactivity, can be synthesized using a low temperature oxygen plasma treatment of the polymer (PP) followed by deposition of TiO2 nanoparticles and their sensitization with organic ligands. The whole process consists of three major steps: surface activation involving its partial oxidation, immobilization of TiO2 nanoparticles and photosensitization of titania film by impregnation with the solution of organic ligands forming surface Ti(IV) charge transfer complexes. XPS and IR analysis revealed the formation of oxygen-containing groups at the polymer surface upon plasma treatment. These groups participate in the formation of Ti-O-C bonds which ensure a very good adhesion of titania films to polymeric surface. The dip-coating process using an aqueous colloidal solution of TiO2 nanoparticles allows to synthesize a compact coating with a thickness of 100-300 nm. Coordination of catechol-like ligands to surface Ti (IV) centers results in formation of colored charge transfer complexes responsible for absorption of visible light and an effective photoinduced charge separation. Photogenerated electrons and holes can take part in surface redox reactions responsible for degradation of pollutants. Tests with various organic ligands (catechol, 2,3-naphthalenediol, pyrogallol and rutin) revealed, that the titanium dioxide coating modified with catechol was the most photoactive one when visible light irradiation was applied. Presented photocatalytic coatings can be effectively used as self-sterilizing surfaces activated by visible light.