Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

A completely new atomic crystal dynamic of the white pigment titanium dioxide discovered

30.08.2013
An international team of researchers at Vienna University of Technology in Austria and at Princeton University in the USA has confirmed theoretically-predicted interactions between single oxygen molecules and crystalline titanium dioxide.

The results, which could be of importance for a variety of applications, have been published in the current issue of Science Magazine.


“A scanning tunneling microscope image of the surface of titanium dioxide with different forms of oxygen. The higher, white peaks are oxygen molecules that are sitting on the surface, the smaller double peak in the foreground is an oxygen molecule that is already embedded,“
Copyright: TU Vienna

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

Diebold’s actual specialism is the physical and chemical properties of surfaces. “The surfaces of materials pose interesting fundamental questions, but are also important for applications”, explains the physicist. 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
With this method impressive pictures are produced, in which single atoms can clearly be distinguished. By applying a high voltage between the tip and the titanium dioxide crystal, the researchers were able to pull vacancies in the atomic structure caused by single oxygen atoms that are missing to the surface and make images of them. Moreover, in a series of images, Diebold’s team was able to show how differently ionised oxygen molecules become embedded in the surface.
Fuel from CO2, titanium dioxide and light?
With their results, the experimental team in Vienna were able to confirm this atomic dynamic in titanium oxide crystal, which had been previously only been predicted theoretically. “Our results clearly show how important these oxygen vacancies are for the chemical properties of titanium oxide”, states Diebold about the new results from her research group. “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.”
Original publication
“Reaction of O2 with Subsurface Oxygen Vacancies on TiO2 Anatase (101)“ by Martin Setvín, Ulrich Aschauer, Philipp Scheiber, Ye-Fei Li, Weiyi Hou, Michael Schmid, Annabella Selloni, Ulrike Diebold. Science, 30 August 2013: http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1239879 (accessible as soon as the article has been officially published)
Until the embargo deadline, journalists can obtain a copy of the original article upon direct request to ‘AAAS Office of Public Programs‘ in the USA:
T +1-202-326-6440
scipak@aaas.org
Press photos
http://www.tuwien.ac.at/dle/pr/aktuelles/downloads/2013/titandioxid
Contact
Prof. Ulrike Diebold
Institute for Applied Physics
Vienna University of Technology
Wiedner Hauptstraße 8-10, 1040 Vienna
M +43-664-60588-3467
ulrike.diebold@tuwien.ac.at

Dr. Florian Aigner | Technische Universität Wien
Further information:
http://www.tuwien.ac.at

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Significantly more productivity in USP lasers
06.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Lasertechnik ILT

nachricht Shape matters when light meets atom
05.12.2016 | Centre for Quantum Technologies at the National University of Singapore

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

NTU scientists build new ultrasound device using 3-D printing technology

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

The balancing act: An enzyme that links endocytosis to membrane recycling

07.12.2016 | Life Sciences

How to turn white fat brown

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>