Effect of Sn surface states on the photocatalytic activity of anatase TiO2

Freddy E. Oropeza, Bastian Mei, Ilia Sinev, Ahmet E. Becerikli, Martin Muhler, Jennifer Strunk

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The influence of surface Sn-doping on the photocatalytic properties of anatase TiO2 has been investigated in samples prepared by a grafting route using Sn(IV) tert-butoxide as Sn precursor. The grafting procedure leads to the formation of isolated Sn(IV) sites on the surface of anatase TiO2 powders as gauged by structural characterisation based on XRD, Raman spectroscopy and XAS. Studies of the surface reduction based on TPR experiments and XPS provide the conditions for a selective reduction of surface Sn(IV) to the divalent oxidation state. Electronic structure characterisation based on valence band XPS and DRS shows that there is a slight widening of the band gap upon Sn(IV)-grafting, but Sn(II) related states emerge at the top of the main valence band upon reduction at temperatures up to 350°C, and this induces visible light absorption. Grafting of TiO2 with Sn(IV) increases the formation rate of OH radicals on the surface of the material. Reduction of the Sn(IV)-grafted TiO2 to form surface Sn(II) brings about substantial increase of the photocatalytic efficiency for the methylene blue degradation under irradiation with λ≥320nm compared with Sn(IV)-grafted and pure anatase TiO2. This observation is explained based on a surface hole trapping by the Sn(II)-related surface states which lie above the top of the main valence band and can therefore act as trapping sites for holes produced under photoexcitation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-59
Number of pages9
JournalApplied Catalysis B: Environmental
StatePublished - Aug 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Dye degradation
  • Grafting
  • Photocatalysis
  • SnO
  • Surface charge trapping
  • Surface doping
  • Temperature-programmed reduction
  • TiO
  • X-ray absorption spectroscopy
  • X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy


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