TiO2-reduced graphene oxide nanocomposites: Microsecond charge carrier kinetics

In this work, transient absorption spectroscopy studies in the microsecond time scale were carried out to investigate the dynamics of photogenerated electron-hole pairs in TiO2-rGO nanocomposites, prepared by a hydrothermal method, under different atmospheres: N2, O2, and N2 saturated in CH3OH. Under N2 atmosphere, the transient absorption signal detected in the region between 450 and 700 nm dropped as the rGO mass concentration in the composite was raised. The electron transfer from TiO2 to rGO was confirmed by using a model based on fractal surfaces which describes the decay kinetics. In the presence of methanol as hole acceptor, P25-rGO 0.5% and 1% were able to reach the maximum transient absorption faster than the other studied nanocomposites. However, after 10 μs, the P25-rGO 0.1% nanocomposite yielded the highest transient absorption signal and the best conversion and initial reaction rate in the photocatalytic degradation of dichloroacetic acid in aqueous suspensions. The effect of rGO on free electrons was investigated by detecting the transient signal at 980 nm under N2 saturated in CH3OH, for the different samples. It was found that the measured signals followed the same response than at 660 nm further evincing the electron transfer process. No sensitization effect of rGO was observed when the samples were excited at 450 nm.

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