New explanation on formation mechanism of anodic TiO2 nanotubes

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Article number115985
Journal / PublicationMaterials Science and Engineering B: Solid-State Materials for Advanced Technology
Online published5 Sep 2022
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


Anodic TiO2 nanotubes (ATO) have attracted considerable scientific interests due to their various applications and mysterious growth mechanism. In particular, it has puzzled scientists for decades why ATO displays the distinct nanotubular morphology. For comparison, anodic Al2O3 (AAO), another important anodic oxide, features nanochannels. Different theories have been proposed, but the tube-formation mechanism is not clearly understood. Here, the top surface and cross-section morphologies of ATO obtained under different experimental conditions are investigated, and a new evolution mechanism of ATO is proposed. The formation, flow, and decomposition of a highly defective metastable sublayer in-between the neighboring pores plays an essential role in the formation of the characteristic morphology features, such as the “cap” layer at the ATO top surface, intertubular gaps, double-layered tube walls, nano-scaled ridges connecting the tube outer walls. The “cap” layer is due to the absence of the metastable substance at the ATO film top surface. The double-wall structure results from the different reaction environment and products at the upper and lower parts of the barrier layer. The intertubular gaps and ridges between neighboring tubes arise from decomposition and volume shrinkage of the metastable sublayer at the tube outer walls. This study offers insights to the growth kinetics of the ATO and other anodic oxides.

Research Area(s)

  • Anodization, Formation mechanism, TiO2 nanotube arrays