Transmission electron microscopy of carbon-coated and iron-doped titania nanoparticles

Dalaver H. Anjum, Nasir K. Memon, Mohamed Ismail, Mohamed N. Hedhili, Usman Sharif, Suk Ho Chung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


We present a study on the properties of iron (Fe)-doped and carbon (C)-coated titania (TiO2) nanoparticles (NPs) which has been compiled by using x-ray diffraction (XRD), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). These TiO2 NPs were prepared by using the flame synthesis method. This method allows the simultaneous C coating and Fe doping of TiO2 NPs. XRD investigations revealed that the phase of the prepared NPs was anatase TiO2. Conventional TEM analysis showed that the average size of the TiO2 NPs was about 65 nm and that the NPs were uniformly coated with the element C. Furthermore, from the x-ray energy dispersive spectrometry analysis, it was found that about 8 at.% Fe was present in the synthesized samples. High-resolution TEM (HRTEM) revealed the graphitized carbon structure of the layer surrounding the prepared TiO2 NPs. HRTEM analysis further revealed that the NPs possessed the crystalline structure of anatase titania. Energy-filtered TEM (EFTEM) analysis showed the C coating and Fe doping of the NPs. The ratio of L3 and L2 peaks for the Ti-L23 and Fe-L23 edges present in the core loss electron energy loss spectroscopy (EELS) revealed a +4 oxidation state for the Ti and a +3 oxidation state for the Fe. These EELS results were further confirmed with XPS analysis. The electronic properties of the samples were investigated by applying Kramers-Kronig analysis to the low-loss EELS spectra acquired from the prepared NPs. The presented results showed that the band gap energy of the TiO2 NPs decreased from an original value of 3.2 eV to about 2.2 eV, which is quite close to the ideal band gap energy of 1.65 eV for photocatalysis semiconductors. The observed decrease in band gap energy of the TiO2 NPs was attributed to the presence of Fe atoms at the lattice sites of the anatase TiO2 lattice. In short, C-coated and Fe-doped TiO2 NPs were synthesized with a rather cost-effective and comparatively easily scalable method. The presented analysis enables us to predict the excellent efficiency of these NPs for solar-cell and photo-catalysis applications.

Original languageBritish English
Article number365709
Issue number36
StatePublished - 2 Aug 2016


  • flame synthesis of nanoparticles
  • KramersKronig analysis
  • optical properties using EELS
  • transmission electron microscopy
  • x-ray photoelectron microscopy


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