Inverse opal TiO2-based heterocomposite photonic structures for slow photon-assisted visible light photocatalysis

Research output: Contribution in Book/Catalog/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Manipulation of light was proved to be an efficient strategy to improve light harvesting efficiency in solar energy conversion. Inverse opal (IO) photonic structures are among the most promising materials, which permit light manipulation, thanks to their ability to slow down light at specific wavelengths and localize it within the dielectric structure. However, the generation, the control and, in particular, the practical utilization of these narrow spectral range ‘slow photons’ remain highly challenging and relatively underexplored. In this work, we report the ability not only to generate slow photons in the visible range by synthesizing highly ordered IO TiO2 photonic structures, but also to control and tune their wavelengths, by varying lattice parameters (pore sizes), such that they can be efficiently utilized by the composite bismuth (Bi)-based semiconductor for visible light photocatalysis. Photocatalytic experiments revealed a 70% increase in efficiency in all IO structures compared to the corresponding non-structured compact film. In addition, a 20% increase in efficiency was observed when the photonic stop band gap as well as its blue and red edges were accurately tuned to match the electronic absorption of the Bi-based photocatalyst. Our choice of IO synthesis parameters and tuning strategies enabled us to generate, control and transfer the energy of slow photons from IO TiO2 to the composite visible light-responsive photocatalyst for highly amplified photoactivity. This work opens new possibilities for the practical utilization of slow photon effect under visible light in various solar energy conversion applications.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of SPIE
Subtitle of host publicationPhotonics for Solar Energy Systems IX
EditorsAlexander N. Sprafke, Jan Christoph Goldschmidt, Luana Mazzarella
ISBN (Electronic)9781510651760
Publication statusPublished - 2022
EventPhotonics for Solar Energy Systems IX 2022 - Virtual, Online
Duration: 9 May 202220 May 2022

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


ConferencePhotonics for Solar Energy Systems IX 2022
CityVirtual, Online


  • inverse opal
  • photocatalysis
  • Photonic crystal
  • slow photons
  • solar energy conversion
  • stop band gap
  • TiO2
  • visible light


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