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Effect of SiNx diffusion barrier thickness on the structural properties and photocatalytic activity of TiO2 films obtained by sol-gel dip coating and reactive magnetron sputtering

Abstract : We investigate the effect of the thickness of the silicon nitride (SiNx) diffusion barrier on the structural and photocatalytic efficiency of TiO2 films obtained with different processes. We show that the structural and photocatalytic efficiency of TiO2 films produced using soft chemistry (sol-gel) and physical methods (reactive sputtering) are affected differentially by the intercalating SiNx diffusion barrier. Increasing the thickness of the SiNx diffusion barrier induced a gradual decrease of the crystallite size of TiO2 films obtained by the sol-gel process. However, TiO2 obtained using the reactive sputtering method showed no dependence on the thickness of the SiNx barrier diffusion. The SiNx barrier diffusion showed a beneficial effect on the photocatalytic efficiency of TiO2 films regardless of the synthesis method used. The proposed mechanism leading to the improvement in the photocatalytic efficiency of the TiO2 films obtained by each process was discussed.
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Mohamed Nawfal Ghazzal, Eric Aubry, Nouari Chaoui, Didier Robert. Effect of SiNx diffusion barrier thickness on the structural properties and photocatalytic activity of TiO2 films obtained by sol-gel dip coating and reactive magnetron sputtering. Beilstein Journal of Nanotechnology, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology., 2015, 6, pp.2039-2045. ⟨10.3762/bjnano.6.207⟩. ⟨hal-01517135⟩

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