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 A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL
23.06.2017 | Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

nachricht Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?
23.06.2017 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

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: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>