Nanostructure porous titanium oxide thin film (TiOx) deposited on the polyimide substrate. (Credit: Osaka University)

Researchers have shown how to coat glass and plastic with porous titanium dioxide. The fabrication process is straightforward, the materials are cheap, and the ceramic’s gas sensing performance is considerably improved compared with current devices.

The researchers first used spin coating to deposit a thin film — approximately 1 μm thick — of porous titanium dioxide onto a glass or plastic surface, in only one step. They then tested two approaches to strongly adhere their films onto the surface: high-temperature sintering for the glass, and high-intensity light for the plastic. Both approaches retain the nanometer-scale pores and strongly adhere the ceramic film.

The thin ceramic films prepared by high-temperature sintering performed remarkably compared with nonporous titanium-based gas sensors.

The researchers envision many applications of their porous ceramic coatings. For example, viruses can be entrapped in the pores. Once caught, the viruses can be destroyed by irradiating the films with UV or visible light, without damaging the films.

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