What is it about?

By studying the adsorption of carbon monoxide on titanium dioxide materials with different morphology, we revealed a new class of surface vibrational modes, which are much more sensitive than the stretching mode of carbon monoxide in probing the surface topography by IR spectroscopy.

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Why is it important?

Titania nanopowders have important applications in catalysis and sustainability. Understanding how the reactivity of TiO2 nanoparticles depends on the local structure of the surface is crucial for further progress. This is very difficult, because the geometric structure and local environment of the reactive sites are not known yet. We found that a frustrated mode of adsorbed CO is exceptionally sensitive to the presence of surface steps. Such IR band may become a key tool for detecting specific defective sites on TiO2 surfaces.


This paper presents a powerful method for identifying TiO2 surface steps, which contain very active sites for catalysis and photocatalysis. Our method may help interpreting the IR spectra of drastically complex and reactive TiO2 surfaces. More in general, such knowledge may contribute to correlate reactivity and atomistic-level structure of these versatile, ubiquitous and techologically strategic nanomaterials.

Gloria Tabacchi
university of insubria

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This page is a summary of: Surface features of TiO2 nanoparticles: combination modes of adsorbed CO probe the stepping of (101) facets, Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, January 2013, Royal Society of Chemistry,
DOI: 10.1039/c3cp51524a.
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