Title: Molecular-Level Understanding of the Photocatalytic Activity Difference between Anatase and Rutile Nanoparticles
Authors: Wooyul Kim, Takashi Tachikawa, Gun-hee Moon, Tetsuro Majima, and Wonyong Choi*
Journal: Angewandte Chemie (I.F. 11.336)
The generation of oxidants on illuminated photocatalysts and their participation in subsequent reactions are the main basis of the widely investigated photocatalytic processes for environmental remediation and selective oxidation. Here, the generation and the subsequent diffusion of .OH from the illuminated TiO2 surface to the solution bulk were directly observed using a single-molecule detection method and this molecular phenomenon could explain the different macroscopic behavior of anatase and rutile in photocatalysis. The mobile .OH is generated on anatase but not on rutile. Therefore, the photocatalytic oxidation on rutile is limited to adsorbed substrates whereas that on anatase is more facile and versatile owing to the presence of mobile .OH. The ability of anatase to generate mobile .OH is proposed as a previously unrecognized key factor that explains the common observations that anatase has higher activity than rutile for many photooxidative reactions.