A comparative study of the photocatalytic and optical properties of spinel-type titanates: A report for spinel sodium titanate
The recent discovery of Na3LiTi5O12 (NTO), which possesses spinel symmetry (Fd3¯m, #227) with the 8a site occupied by Na, has enabled investigations into the effect of the 8a-site cation on the physical properties of spinel titanates. Hence, in this study, the optical and photocatalytic properties of NTO were investigated and compared with those of spinel Li4Ti5O12 (LTO) and rutile TiO2. The bandgaps were estimated theoretically using hybrid density functional theory and experimentally using the ultraviolet–visible spectroscopy, and the obtained results were similar for both methods and spinel titanates. The valence- and conduction-band components of the spinel-type titanates were similar to those of other titanium oxides, and both NTO and LTO exhibited photocatalytic activity for sacrificial H2 evolution from water. However, although they have similar band structures and optical properties, the NTO photocatalytic activity was clearly lower than that of LTO. This can be attributed to the surface roughness and ease of defect formation in the NTO system, which hindered charge separation. These results indicate that the optical properties of spinel-type titanates can be tuned by replacing the cations at the 8a sites.