Publications by Year: 2020

Toumazatou A, Antoniadou M, Sakellis E, Tsoutsou D, Gardelis S, Romanos GE, Ioannidis N, Boukos N, Dimoulas A, Falaras P, et al. Boosting visible light harvesting and charge separation in surface modified TiO2 photonic crystal catalysts with CoOx nanoclusters. Mater. Adv. [Internet]. 2020;1:2310-2322. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Photonic crystal structuring has emerged as a promising approach to improve the utilization of solar energy by metal oxide semiconductor photocatalysts based on the combination of slow-light{,} pore interconnectivity and high surface accessibility of macroporous periodic structures with judicious compositional modifications of the materials’ properties. In this work{,} surface modification of photonic band gap engineered TiO2 inverse opals fabricated by the convective evaporation-induced co-assembly technique was performed with nanoscale Co oxides using the chemisorption–calcination-cycle method in order to explore the interplay of metal oxide heterostructuring and photonic amplification for the development of visible light-activated photonic catalysts. Fine tuning of the films’ photonic and electronic properties by controlling the inverse opal macropore size and Co oxides’ loading and composition resulted in significant enhancement of the photocatalytic activity for organics decomposition under visible light{,} exceeding that of benchmark mesoporous TiO2 films subjected to the same treatment. The underlying mechanism was related to the slow-photon-assisted light harvesting by low amounts of Co oxide nanoclusters that exert minimal effects on the inverse opal periodicity and texture{,} while enabling visible light electronic absorption and promoting charge separation via strong interfacial coupling on the nanocrystalline titania skeleton of the photonic crystals.
Loukopoulos S, Toumazatou A, Sakellis E, Xenogiannopoulou E, Boukos N, Dimoulas A, Likodimos V. Heterostructured CoOx–TiO2 mesoporous/photonic crystal bilayer films for enhanced visible-light harvesting and photocatalysis. Materials [Internet]. 2020;13:1-14. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Heterostructured bilayer films, consisting of co-assembled TiO2 photonic crystals as the bottom layer and a highly performing mesoporous P25 titania as the top layer decorated with CoOx nanoclusters, are demonstrated as highly efficient visible-light photocatalysts. Broadband visible-light activation of the bilayer films was implemented by the surface modification of both titania layers with nanoscale clusters of Co oxides relying on the chemisorption of Co acetylacetonate complexes on TiO2, followed by post-calcination. Tuning the slow photon regions of the inverse opal supporting layer to the visible-light absorption of surface CoOx oxides resulted in significant amplification of salicylic-acid photodegradation under visible and ultraviolet (UV)–visible light (Vis), outperforming benchmark P25 films of higher titania loading. This enhancement was related to the spatially separated contributions of slow photon propagation in the inverse opal support layer assisted by Bragg reflection toward the CoOx-modified mesoporous P25 top layer. This effect indicates that photonic crystals may be highly effective as both photocatalytically active and backscattering layers in multilayer photocatalytic films. © 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
Apostolaki M-A, Toumazatou A, Antoniadou M, Sakellis E, Xenogiannopoulou E, Gardelis S, Boukos N, Falaras P, Dimoulas A, Likodimos V. Graphene quantum dot-TiO2 photonic crystal films for photocatalytic applications. Nanomaterials [Internet]. 2020;10:1-18. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Photonic crystal structuring has emerged as an advanced method to enhance solar light harvesting by metal oxide photocatalysts along with rational compositional modifications of the materials’ properties. In this work, surface functionalization of TiO2 photonic crystals by blue luminescent graphene quantum dots (GQDs), n–π* band at ca. 350 nm, is demonstrated as a facile, environmental benign method to promote photocatalytic activity by the combination of slow photon-assisted light trapping with GQD-TiO2 interfacial electron transfer. TiO2 inverse opal films fabricated by the co-assembly of polymer colloidal spheres with a hydrolyzed titania precursor were post-modified by impregnation in aqueous GQDs suspension without any structural distortion. Photonic band gap engineering by varying the inverse opal macropore size resulted in selective performance enhancement for both salicylic acid photocatalytic degradation and photocurrent generation under UV–VIS and visible light, when red-edge slow photons overlapped with the composite’s absorption edge, whereas stop band reflection was attenuated by the strong UVA absorbance of the GQD-TiO2 photonic films. Photoelectrochemical and photoluminescence measurements indicated that the observed improvement, which surpassed similarly modified benchmark mesoporous P25 TiO2 films, was further assisted by GQDs electron acceptor action and visible light activation to a lesser extent, leading to highly efficient photocatalytic films. © 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
Wang B, Likodimos V, Fielding AJ, Dryfe RAW. In situ Electron paramagnetic resonance spectroelectrochemical study of graphene-based supercapacitors: Comparison between chemically reduced graphene oxide and nitrogen-doped reduced graphene oxide. Carbon [Internet]. 2020;160:236-246. WebsiteAbstract
An in situ electrochemical electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopic study of N-doped reduced graphene oxide (N-rGO) is reported with the aim of understanding the properties of this material when employed as an electrical double-layer capacitor. N-rGO shows a capacitance of 100 F g−1 in 6 M KOH, which is twice that found for reduced graphene oxide (rGO). The temperature dependence of the rGO EPR signal revealed two different components: a narrow component, following the Curie law, was related to defects; and a broad curve with a stronger Pauli law component was attributed to the spin interaction between mobile electrons and localised π electrons trapped at a more extended aromatic structure. The N-rGO sample presented broader EPR signals, indicative of additional contributions to the resonance width. In situ EPR electrochemical spectroscopy was applied to both samples to relate changes in unpaired electron density to the enhanced capacitance. The narrow and broad components increased and diminished reversibly with potential. The potential-dependent narrow feature was related to the generated radical species from corresponding functional groups: e.g. O- and N-centred radicals. Improved capacitance seen for the N-modified basal graphene planes can be accordingly suggested to underlie the enhanced capacitance of N-rGO in basic electrolytes. © 2020 The Authors
Likodimos V. Advanced photocatalytic materials. Materials [Internet]. 2020;13. WebsiteAbstract
Semiconductor photocatalysts have attracted a great amount of multidiscipline research due to their distinctive potential for solar-to-chemical-energy conversion applications, ranging from water and air purification to hydrogen and chemical fuel production. This unique diversity of photoinduced applications has spurred major research efforts on the rational design and development of photocatalytic materials with tailored structural, morphological, and optoelectronic properties in order to promote solar light harvesting and alleviate photogenerated electron-hole recombination and the concomitant low quantum efficiency. This book presents a collection of original research articles on advanced photocatalytic materials synthesized by novel fabrication approaches and/or appropriate modifications that improve their performance for target photocatalytic applications such as water (cyanobacterial toxins, antibiotics, phenols, and dyes) and air (NOx and volatile organic compounds) pollutant degradation, hydrogen evolution, and hydrogen peroxide production by photoelectrochemical cells. © 2020 by the authors.
Kontos AG, Romanos GE, Veziri CM, Gotzias A, Arfanis MK, Kouvelos E, Likodimos V, Karanikolos GN, Falaras P. Correlating vibrational properties with temperature and pressure dependent CO2 adsorption in zeolitic imidazolate frameworks. Applied Surface Science [Internet]. 2020;529. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Zeolitic imidazolate frameworks (ZIFs) feature a rigid porous structure where the interplay of pore merits and wall functionality, determined by the different imidazolate functional groups, results in superior CO2 capture ability. In this work, the vibrational properties of ZIF-68 and ZIF-69, two characteristic complex gmelinite (GME) type ZIFs comprising of benzimidazolate (bIm) and chloro-benzimidazolate (cbIm) linkers, respectively, were investigated by micro-Raman spectroscopy as a function of CO2 pressure and temperature, in combination with macroscopic adsorption experiments and extended molecular simulations, in order to explore the underlying host-guest interactions and particularly the variation of the framework lattice dynamics and flexibility to CO2 loading. The CO2 isosteric heat of adsorption (Qst) was quantitatively determined by the temperature dependence of the CO2 Fermi dyad intensity at constant pressure. ZIF-69 was consistently found to present higher Qst than ZIF-68 due to the cbIm polar functionality, in close agreement with macroscopic CO2 adsorption experiments and Monte Carlo analysis. More importantly, high CO2 uptake was found to cause significant blue shifts and enhancement of the frequency shift temperature gradients of several low-frequency Raman modes, which according to detailed polarization analysis of ZIF microcrystals, arise from free breathing vibrations of the functionalized ligands in the large ZIF pores. Low-frequency micro-Raman spectroscopy may accordingly constitute a sensitive spectroscopic tool for unveiling lattice dynamics upon CO2 sorption in ZIFs. © 2020 Elsevier B.V.