Effective coating of titania nanoparticles with alumina via atomic layer deposition

H. Azizpour, M. Talebi, F. D. Tichelaar, R Sotudeh-Gharebagh, J. Guo, J. R. van Ommen*, N Mostoufi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Alumina films were deposited on titania nanoparticles via atomic layer deposition (ALD) in a fluidized bed reactor at 180 °C and 1 bar. Online mass spectrometry was used for real time monitoring of effluent gases from the reactor during each reaction cycle in order to determine the optimal dosing time of precursors. Different oxygen sources were used to see which oxygen source, in combination with trimethyl aluminium (TMA), provides the highest alumina growth per cycle (GPC). Experiments were carried out in 4, 7 and 10 cycles using the optimal dosing time of precursors. Several characterization methods, such as high resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM), Brunauer-Emmett-Teller (BET), energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX), Fourier transform infrared (FTIR), X-ray diffraction (XRD) and instrumental neutron activation analysis (INAA), were conducted on the products. Formation of the alumina film was confirmed by EDX mapping and EDX line profiling, FTIR and TEM. When using either water or deuterium oxide as the oxygen source, the thickness of the alumina film was greater than that of ozone. The average GPC measured by TEM for the ALD of TMA with water, deuterium oxide and ozone was about 0.16 nm, 0.15 nm and 0.11 nm, respectively. The average GPC calculated using the mass fraction of aluminum from INAA was close to those measured from TEM images. Excess amounts of precursors lead to a higher average growth of alumina film per cycle due to insufficient purging time. XRD analysis demonstrated that amorphous alumina was coated on titania nanoparticles. This amorphous layer was easily distinguished from the crystalline core in the TEM images. Decrease in the photocatalytic activity of titania nanoparticles after alumina coating was confirmed by measuring degradation of Rhodamine B by ultraviolet irradiation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)480-496
Number of pages17
JournalApplied Surface Science
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Atomic layer deposition
  • Coating of titania
  • Growth per cycle
  • Oxidizer
  • Photocatalytic activity


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