Researchers from the Polish Academy of Sciences Henryk Niewodniczański Institute of Nuclear Physics have carried out a study on titanium dioxide using the research infrastructure of the JU National Synchrotron Radiation Centre SOLARIS. The study, funded by the National Research Centre, was conducted using the XAS station. The results of the study were published in the Journal of Physical Chemistry A.
There are few compounds as important for the modern medicine and industry as titanium dioxide. The electron structure of transition metals is an crucial factor in determining the chemical and optical properties of materials. In the case of metal oxides, crystal field has an impact on the shape and structure of molecular orbitals. Consequently, crystal field diffraction may be an important factor in modelling photochemical activity.
In many chemical reactions, titanium dioxide acts as a catalyst. It serves as a pigment in plastics, paints and cosmetics, and guarantees his biocompatibility of medical implants.
The research team led by Dr hab. Jakub Szlachetka focused on the process of oxidisation of outer layers of titanium samples and the resulting changes in the electron structure of that material. They investigated the way in which X rays are absorbed by the outer layers of titanium samples, created previously in highly controlled environment.
‘We concentrated on observing the changes in the electron structure of the outer layers of titanium samples based on variations in temperature and stage of oxidisation. In order to do this, we heated a number of titanium discs to a different temperature and subsequently used the synchrotron beamline to irradiate them with X rays. Since the properties of synchrotron radiation are very well known, we were able to precisely measure the electron structure of titanium atoms, and therefore describe the differences in the material itself’, said Klaudia Wojtaszek, co-author of the paper.
The full paper, entitled Determination of Crystal-Field Splitting Induced by Thermal Oxidation of Titanium, can be found at the ACS Publications website.