Mesoporous TiO with a hierarchically 3D dendrimeric nanostructure comprised of nanoribbon building units has been synthesized via a spontaneous self-formation process from various titanium alkoxides. These hierarchically 3D dendrimeric architectures can be obtained by a very facile, template-free method, by simply dropping a titanium butoxide precursor into methanol solution. The novel configuration of the mesoporous TiO nanostructure in nanoribbon building units yields a high surface area. The calcined samples show significantly enhanced photocatalytic activity and degradation rates owing to the mesoporosity and their improved crystallinity after calcination. Furthermore, the 3D dendrimeric architectures can be preserved after phase transformation from amorphous TiO to anatase or rutile, which occurs during calcination. In addition, the spontaneous self-formation process of mesoporous TiO with hierarchically 3D dendrimeric architectures from the hydrolysis and condensation reaction of titanium butoxide in methanol has been followed by in situ optical microscopy (OM), revealing the secret on the formation of hierarchically 3D dendrimeric nanostructures. Moreover, mesoporous TiO nanostructures with similar hierarchically 3D dendrimeric architectures can also be obtained using other titanium alkoxides. The porosities and nanostructures of the resultant products were characterized by SEM, TEM, XRD, and N adsorption-desorption measurements. The present work provides a facile and reproducible method for the synthesis of novel mesoporous TiO nanoarchitectures, which in turn could herald the fabrication of more efficient photocatalysts.
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