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by Staff Writers
Vienna, Austria (SPX) Sep 05, 2013
Titanium dioxide is an inexpensive, yet versatile material. It is used as a pigment in wall paint, as a biocompatible coating in medical implants, as a catalyst in the chemical industry and as UV protection in sunscreen. When applied as a thin coating, it can keep all sorts of surfaces sparkling clean.
The use of titanium oxide in the electronics industry is currently being investigated. Fundamental to all these properties could be the atomic properties discovered by Ulrike Diebold from the Institute of Applied Physics at TU Vienna and Annabella Selloni from the Frick Laboratory at Princeton and their teams.
Oxygen latches on
The surface of titanium dioxide, for example, interacts with oxygen from the air. How this happens at the atomic level has now been shown in Vienna. Martin Setvin from Diebold's team took pictures of this surface with a scanning tunneling microscope.
In this method, a fine metal tip is held extremely close to a surface, without actually touching it. A voltage is applied between the tip and the sample, which creates what is known as a tunneling current. This current is measured and displayed as an image.
Atomic vacancies pulled upwards
Fuel from CO2, titanium dioxide and light?
"We were also able to show that we can alter the charge state of the photocatalytically active oxygen atoms. Perhaps in future it will be possible to produce more active oxygen-rich photocatalysts. These could be used to convert CO2 into useful hydrocarbons, with the help of the titanium dioxide and light."
"Reaction of O2 with Subsurface Oxygen Vacancies on TiO2 Anatase (101)" by Martin Setvin, Ulrich Aschauer, Philipp Scheiber, Ye-Fei Li, Weiyi Hou, Michael Schmid, Annabella Selloni, Ulrike Diebold. Science, 30 August 2013
Vienna University of Technology
Space Technology News - Applications and Research
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