We report a low temperature alkali-mediated conversion of nanofiber-and rice grain-shaped TiO 2-SiO 2 composites into highly anisotropic fiber (decorated with thorn-like features on surfaces)/sponge-shaped titanates of the formula Na 2-xH xTi 2O 4(OH) 2. The titanates were thoroughly characterized by spectroscopy and microscopy. Control experiments with the respective TiO 2 analogues revealed that the unique open and highly porous morphologies were the result of structural rearrangement of TiO 2 coupled with the in situ leaching of SiO 2 from the composites by the alkali. Effect of concentration of the alkali and the reaction temperature on the morphology of the titanates was also probed. Evolution of the unique morphologies from the respective starting materials was studied by scanning electron microscopy analyses of the systematically withdrawn samples during the course of the reaction. The materials utilized in dye-sensitized solar cells showed excellent photovoltaic parameters amongst the category of titanates. © 2012 The Royal Society of Chemistry.
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S. A. Nair, Peining, Z., V. Babu, J., Shengyuan, Y., Shengjie, P., and Ramakrishna, S., “Highly anisotropic titanates from electrospun TiO 2-SiO 2 composite nanofibers and rice grain-shaped nanostructures”, RSC Advances, vol. 2, pp. 992-998, 2012.