Thermal conduction effects impacting morphology during synthesis of columnar nanostructured TiO2 thin films

Woo Jin An, David D. Jiang, James R. Matthews, Nicholas F. Borrelli, Pratim Biswas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The aerosol chemical vapor deposition (ACVD) process allows for the synthesis of nanostructured films with well tuned morphologies that can be controlled based on the desired functionality and application. A robust understanding of the process parameters that result in desired features of the film is elucidated. One dimensional TiO2 nanostructured columns that have superior properties for solar energy harvesting and conversion applications were deposited on tin doped indium oxide (ITO) substrates. The sintering of the deposited particles was a key factor in the growth of the 1D structure with desired crystal planes. By ensuring that the sintering rate is faster than the arrival rate of deposited particles; a 1D columnar structure could be obtained. The sintering rate was controlled by the temperature and depositing particle size. As the columns grew in length, the increased thermal conduction resistance resulted in a drop in temperature and subsequently a slowing of the sintering process in upper regions of the film. This led to growth of branched structures rather than continued growth in a preferred direction. The growth of the branched structure could be overcome by enhancing the sintering rate by increasing the substrate temperature or reducing the depositing particle size (by lowering the feed rate of the precursor). The phenomenon was also confirmed by using different deposition substrates, such as FTO and glass. Dye sensitized solar cell performance efficiencies with different column lengths of 2 and 7 m were determined to be 1.8 and 2.7% respectively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7913-7921
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Materials Chemistry
Issue number22
StatePublished - Jun 14 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Chemistry


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