Intricate photocatalytic decomposition behavior of gaseous methanol with nanocrystalline tungsten trioxide films in high vacuum

Shivaji B. Sadale, Kei Noda, Kei Kobayashi, Kazumi Matsushige

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Gas phase photocatalytic decomposition of methanol with nanocrystalline tungsten trioxide (WO 3 ) thin films in high vacuum was investigated. WO 3 thin films were prepared from a novel precursor prepared using peroxo-tungstic acid and polyethylene glycol (PEG300) in water. Uniform thin films of WO 3 with different morphologies such as micro-sheets, platelets, nanorods and nanoparticles were fabricated by varying the concentration of PEG300 in the precursor solution and by optimizing other preparative parameters. Nanocrystalline thin films were obtained with 20% of PEG300 in the precursor solution and at a calcination temperature of 350 °C, followed by post annealing in air at 500 °C. Photocatalytic decomposition of gaseous methanol in high vacuum was examined with nanocrystalline WO 3 thin films using a quadrupole mass spectrometer at a real-time scale under visible (400-700 nm) and UVA (300-400 nm) illumination. Methanol was first decomposed to formaldehyde via direct hole transfer mechanism. Subsequently formaldehyde was decomposed to CO and finally to CO 2 . As a result, the partial pressures of CH 2 O, CO and CO 2 showed a switching phenomenon according to the ON/OFF of light illumination. A rapid decrease in the photocatalytic activity was observed due to photo-induced desorption of methanol during the initial light pulse and gradual decrease at longer times was observed because of formation of tungsten bronze. Thus, the overall process of methanol decomposition over WO 3 films is complex convolution of elementary steps that involve several intermediates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10300-10305
Number of pages6
JournalApplied Surface Science
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Sept 15
Externally publishedYes


  • Drop casting
  • Gas phase
  • Methanol decomposition
  • Photo-induced desorption
  • Photocatalysis
  • Tungsten trioxide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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