Rational design of 3D dendritic TiO2 nanostructures with favorable architectures
Controlling the morphology and size of titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanostructures is crucial to obtain superior photocatalytic, photovoltaic, and electrochemical properties. However, the synthetic techniques for preparing such structures, especially those with complex configurations, still remain a challenge because of the rapid hydrolysis of Ti-containing polymer precursors in aqueous solution. Herein, we report a completely novel approach—three-dimensional (3D) TiO2 nanostructures with favorable dendritic architectures—through a simple hydrothermal synthesis. The size of the 3D TiO2 dendrites and the morphology of the constituent nano-units, in the form of nanorods, nanoribbons, and nanowires, are controlled by adjusting the precursor hydrolysis rate and the surfactant aggregation. These novel configurations of TiO2 nanostructures possess higher surface area and superior electrochemical properties compared to nanoparticles with smooth surfaces. Our findings provide an effective solution for the synthesis of complex TiO2 nano-architectures, which can pave the way to further improve the energy storage and energy conversion efficiency of TiO2-based devices.