Titanium foils of different thicknesses were anodized, and the photocatalytic activity of the resulting TiO2 nanotube (NT) layers was determined. All of the titanium foils were anodized simultaneously under identical experimental conditions to avoid the influence of the aging of the anodizing electrolyte and other anodization parameters, such as voltage, time, and temperature. To characterize the microstructures of the titanium foils, we used electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and stylus profilometry analyses. The adhesion was tested with a Scotch tape test and the morphology of the TiO2 NTs was studied in detail using the SEM technique, while the surface areas of the TiO2 NTs were determined using a three-dimensional (3D) optical interference profilometer. With X-ray diffraction (XRD) and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), the chemical composition and structure of TiO2 oxide were established. The degradation of caffeine under UV irradiation was measured with a high-precision UV-vis-IR spectrophotometer, and the photoluminescence method was used to confirm the photocatalytic behavior of the TiO2 NT layers. The influence of the intrinsic properties, including twinning and the grain boundaries of the starting titanium foils with similar chemical compositions, was determined and explained. Finally, we identified the main characteristics that define a highly effective and flexible photocatalyst.
© 2021 The Authors. Published by American Chemical Society.