P. Romero-Gómez, A. Borras, A. Barranco, J.P. Espinos, A.R. González-Elipe
ChemPhysChem, 12 (2011) 191-197
Herein, we study the photoactivity of anatase–rutile bilayer thin films consisting of an anatase overlayer of variable thickness from some tenths to some hundred nanometers deposited onto a rutile thin film. As references single anatase layers of equivalent thickness were deposited onto silicon. All the films were characterized by X-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and Raman spectroscopy. The photoactivity of the samples was assessed by following the evolution with the UV illumination time of both the wetting angle on the thin film surface and the decoloration of a dye in a water solution. While a similar efficiency is found for the first type of experiments irrespective of the anatase thickness, in the second type a maximum in the photoactivity is found for a thickness of the anatase layer of about 130 nm. This enhanced photoactivity in bilayer systems with a buried anatase–rutile heterojunction is related to the formation of different Schottky potential barriers in the anatase layer, depending on its thickness and the substrate (i.e. rutile or SiO2) where it is deposited.