Inorganic Chemistry, Vol.58, No.4, 2588-2598, 2019
Hydrothermal Transformation of Titanate Scrolled Nanosheets to Anatase over a Wide pH Range and Contribution of Triethanolamine and Oleic Acid to Control the Morphology
Mild hydrothermal conditions used for the treatment of titanate scrolled nanosheets (SNSs) suspensions (140 degrees C, 72 h) resulted in a large variety of anatase TiO2 anisotropic nano-objects depending on the studied parameters: influence of the medium pH and the presence or not of structuring agents (SAs). The present work shows that such a hydrothermal treatment of the SNSs, whatever the pH, resulted in the formation of single-crystalline anatase nanoneedles (NNs) with a specific crystal-elongation direction and a pH dependent morphological anisotropy with aspect ratios (ARs) from 1 to 8. The SNSs suspensions were prepared by the conventional ultrabasic treatment of TiO2 with NaOH, followed by washing with HNO3 to different pH values. The crystal size of the anatase TiO2 obtained from this hydrothermal treatment increased with the pH of the suspensions, from 15 nm nanoparticles (NPs; AR = 1) at pH 2.2 to 500 nm NNs (AR = 8) at a pH 10.8 with a long axis systematically along the anatase  direction. Triethanol amine and oleic acid were used as SAs. Their respective influence, when acting on their own, had little influence on the control of the size, shape, or polydispersity of the NNs. However, their concomitant use provided a much better control of not only the size and polydispersity, which was strongly reduced, but also on (i) the shape and morphology giving rise to a controlled access to well-defined nanorods as opposed to nanoneedles and (ii) the crystal phase purity eliminating the few percent brookite still visible in the X-ray diffraction patterns of samples prepared in SA-free conditions. This approach offers an on-demand control over the production of anatase morphologies with defined aspect ratios.