Integrated Nano- and Macroscale Investigation of Photoinduced Hydrophilicity in TiO2 Thin Films

Corrado Garlisi, Gabriele Scandura, Giovanni Palmisano, Matteo Chiesa, Chia Yun Lai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The hydrophilicity of titanium dioxide has been investigated for films, deposited on glass by e-beam evaporation, being exposed to UV radiation and subjected to thermal annealing. The wettability alteration has been showed to depend upon both treatments, and insights into how to introduce more stable hydrophilicity into these films have been presented for the sake of boosting their commercial value. Observations from multiple length scales to assess the wetting behavior of as-deposited and high-temperature annealed samples were assessed through macroscopic measurements, i.e., water contact angle measurements, showing that the annealed crystalline samples, treated at 500 °C, are much more hydrophilic (SCA ≈ 20°) than as-deposited TiO2 films (SCA ≈ 90°), and the nanoscopic experiments performed by amplitude modulation (AM) atomic force microscopy (AFM) indicated that this increased hydrophilicity is related to an enhanced adhesion force and surface energy, resulting in the partial crystallization of TiO2 and the consequent formation of crystals on its surface rather than being related to morphologic differences. XRD and Raman measurements have highlighted that the crystallinity of the TiO2 film is crucial in determining its hydrophilicity, in good agreement with the AFM study. The results also indicated that, after irradiation, the samples treated at 500 °C preserve their hydrophilicity for a significant time compared to previous studies.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)11813-11818
Number of pages6
Issue number45
StatePublished - 15 Nov 2016


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