A brief overview of work carried out by this group on thick (> 1 mu m), optically clear, robust titania films prepared by a sol-gel method, as well as new results regarding these films, are described. Such films are very active as photocatalysts and able to destroy stearic acid with a quantum yield of 0.32%. The activity of such films is largely unaffected by annealing temperatures below 760 degrees C, but is drastically reduced above this temperature. The drop in photocatalyst activity of such films as a function of annealing temperature appears to correlate well with the change in porosity of the films and suggests that the latter parameter is very important in deciding the overall activity of such films. The importance of porosity in semiconductor photocatalysed cold combustion may be due to the effect it has on access of oxygen to the active sites, rather like the effect the position of a fire grate (open or closed) has on the rate of burning, i.e., hot combustion, that takes place in a fireplace.
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