Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed a new technique for controlling the crystalline structure of titanium dioxide at room temperature. The development should make titanium dioxide more efficient in a range of applications, including photovoltaic cells, hydrogen production, antimicrobial coatings, smart sensors and optical communication technologies.
Titanium dioxide most commonly comes in one on of two major “phases,” meaning that its atoms arrange themselves in one of two crystalline structures. These phases are “anatase” or “rutile.” The arrangement of atoms dictates the material’s optical, chemical and electronic properties. As a result, each phase has different characteristics. The anatase phase has characteristics that make it better suited for use as an antibacterial agent and for applications such as hydrogen production. The rutile phase is better suited for use in other applications, such as photovoltaic cells, smart sensors and optical communication technologies. (more…)