Anodised TiO2 nanotubes: synthesis, growth mechanism and thermal stability

  • Domenico Regonini

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


Anodised titanium dioxide (titania, TiO2) nanotubes have been widely studied over the last few years, following the discovery in 1999 of nanoporous TiO2 films prepared via anodisation in aqueous solution containing small quantities of hydrofluoric acid. The synthesis of nanotubular titania by anodisation, a relatively simple and low cost technique, represents a motivation for scientists, considering the impact that such a material could have on a variety of applications, including gas-sensing, biomedical, photocatalysis, and photovoltaics. This research project has focused on the optimisation of the growth process of anodic titania nanotubes, both in an aqueous (NaF/Na2SO4) and an organic (Glycerol/NaF) electrolyte containing fluorine ions. Reproducibility and the ability to generate anodic films having a thickness of several micrometers are fundamental steps to be achieved before investigating any possible application of the nanotubes. To characterise the anodic specimens and build upon the general lack of information on the growth mechanism, a comprehensive study of the different stages of the process has been performed, using Scanning and Transmission Electronic Microscopy (SEM and TEM). Among the questions to be addressed in this thesis, is to establish whether the anodic film undergoes a transition from pores to tubes or develops a tubular morphology from the beginning of its growth. Additional characterisation of the anodisation process includes the study of current-time curves, and chemical composition analysis of the anodic layers using X-ray Photo-Electron Spectroscopy (XPS). The thermal stability of the nanotubes and structural/morphological changes as a result of heat treatment at different temperatures were also studied, again using SEM, TEM, XPS and Raman spectroscopy. The final part of the thesis is dedicated to preliminary work on the use of anodised TiO2 nanotubes in Dye Sensitized Solar Cells (DSSCs), along with suggestions for future works and general conclusions.
Date of Award1 Sept 2008
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorChris Bowen (Supervisor) & Robert Stevens (Supervisor)


  • anodisation
  • titanium dioxide
  • nanotubes

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