Tailoring Black TiO2 Thin Films: Insights from Hollow Cathode Hydrogen Plasma Treatment Duration

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Godoy-Junior A.
Pereira A.
Damasceno B.
Horta I.
Gomes M.
Leite D.
Miyakawa W.
Baldan M.
Massi M.
Pessoa R.
Sobrinho A.D.S.
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© 2023 by the authors.In this study, we report the use of a radiofrequency plasma-assisted chemical vapor deposition (RF-CVD) system with a hollow cathode geometry to hydrogenate anatase TiO2 thin films. The goal was to create black TiO2 films with improved light absorption capabilities. The initial TiO2 was developed through magnetron sputtering, and this study specifically investigated the impact of hollow cathode hydrogen plasma (HCHP) treatment duration on the crucial characteristics of the resulting black TiO2 films. The HCHP treatment effectively created in-bandgap states in the TiO2 structure, leading to enhanced light absorption and improved conductivity. Morphological analysis showed a 24% surface area increase after 15 min of treatment. Wettability and surface energy results displayed nonlinear behavior, highlighting the influence of morphology on hydrophilicity improvement. The anatase TiO2 phase remained consistent, as confirmed by diffractograms. Raman analysis revealed structural alterations and induced lattice defects. Treated samples exhibited outstanding photodegradation performance, removing over 45% of methylene blue dye compared to ~25% by the pristine TiO2 film. The study emphasized the significant impact of 15-min hydrogenation on the HCHP treatment. The research provided valuable insights into the role of hydrogenation time using the HCHP treatment route on anatase TiO2 thin films and demonstrated the potential of the produced black TiO2 thin films for photocatalytic applications.
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