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Using Ionic Liquids to Make Titanium Dioxide Nanotubes

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

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Technology Marketing SummarySince self-organized TiO2 nanotube (NT) arrays were first reported in 1999, there has been increasing research interest due to their comparably larger surface area, chemical stability, biocompatibility and the ability to provide an excellent electron percolation pathway for vectoral charge transfer between interfaces. The most commonly used fabrication method is anodization of titanium metal in aqueous or organic polarized electrolytes baths containing fluoride species such as NH4F, HF, or NaF. However, anodization-produced TiO2 NT arrays are usually covered by a nanoporous debris layer and contaminated with the decomposition products of the organic electrolyte, which cause a longer charge transport time, reduce transmittance, and deteriorate the semiconductor characteristics.DescriptionORNL has recently successfully developed debris-free, low-contaminant TiO2 NT arrays using a new group of electrolytes based on high-electrical-conductivity ionic liquids as chemical dissolution agents. The elimination of the debris layer allows both inner and outer surfaces of NTs accessible. Avoiding compositing with decomposition products of electrolytes and associated cracking improve the electron transport and reduces the photon recombination.Benefits• Debris-free and well-separated for easier access of electrolytes in solar or battery cells
• Low-contamination and crack-free for higher efficiency photo-conversion and better electrode performance in energy storage
Applications and Industries• Water photoelectrolysis catalysts (for hydrogen generation), photovoltaic components in dye-sensitized solar cells, and as hydrogen gas sensors
• Energy storage applications such as anodes for lithium-ion batteries and electrodes for supercapacitors.
• Ongoing interest in these nanotubes for electronic components, microfluidic devices, nanofiltration devices, drug delivery devices, photocatalytic devices, and tissue engineering components
Patents and Patent Applications
ID Number
Title and Abstract
Primary Lab
Application 20100311615
The invention is directed to a method for producing titanium dioxide nanotubes, the method comprising anodizing titanium metal in contact with an electrolytic medium containing an ionic liquid. The invention is also directed to the resulting titanium dioxide nanotubes, as well as devices incorporating the nanotubes, such as photovoltaic devices, hydrogen generation devices, and hydrogen detection devices.
Oak Ridge National Laboratory 06/09/2009
Technology Status
Technology IDDevelopment StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated
UT-B ID 200802097DevelopmentAvailable10/04/201110/04/2011

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To: Jennifer Tonzello Caldwell<>