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Preparation and characterization of Fe2O3-TiO2 thin films on glass substrate for photocatalytic applications
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Fe2O3-TiO2 coatings were successfully prepared on glass slide substrates using sol-gel method for photocatalytic applications. The phase structure, thermal, microstructure and surface properties of the coatings were extensively characterized by using X-ray diffractometry (XRD), differential thermal analysis/thermograviometry (DTA/TG), scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and atomic force microscopy (AFM). Their adhesion and absorbance properties were investigated by a scratch tester and UV-vis spectroscopy. Four different solutions were prepared by changing Fe/Ti molar ratios. Glass substrates were coated by solutions of Ti-alkoxide, Fe-chloride, glaciel acetic acid and isopropanol. The obtained gel films were dried at 300 °C for 10 min and subsequently heat-treated at 500 °C for 5 min in air. The oxide thin films were annealed at 600 °C for 60 min in air. The influence of Fe3+ concentration and number of layers on structure of the films was established. In addition, XRD results revealed that Fe2O3-TiO2 films composed of TiO2, Fe2Ti3O9, Ti3O5 and Fe3O4 phases. According to DTA/TG result, it was determined that endothermic and exothermic reactions were formed at temperatures between 80 and 650 °C due to solvent removal, combustion of carbon based materials and oxidation of Fe and Ti. SEM observations exhibited that the coating structure becomes more homogeneous depending on an increase of Fe/Ti molar ratios and thus a regular surface morphology forms with increasing Fe/Ti ratio. It was also seen that as the Fe/Ti ratio increases the surface roughness of the films increases. Critical adhesion force of thin films with Fe/Ti ratio of 0, 0.07, 0.18 and 0.73 were found to be 9, 25, 28 and 21 mN, respectively. The methylene blue solutions photocatalyzed by TiO2 based thin films shows characteristic absorption bands at 420 nm.