Masahiro Miyauchi (Senior Research Scientist) and Zhao Zhigang (Post-Doctoral Research Scientist), the Nano-Structured Material Group, the Nanotechnology Research Institute (Director: Nobutsugu Minami) of the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) (President: Hiroyuki Yoshikawa) have successfully synthesized WO3 nanotubes by a simple hydrothermal method. These nanotubes are composed of aggregates of crystallites and have a nanoporous structure with fine, nanometer-scale pores on their walls. This structure provides the nanotubes with a large specific surface area, enabling high photocatalytic activity.
When used to decompose gas-phase acetaldehyde, these nanotubes with platinum as a promoter exhibit visible-light-induced photocatalytic activities eight times higher than that of conventional N-doped TiO2, and three times higher than that of conventional particulate WO3 with a platinum promoter.
Since the hydrothermal synthesis method can produce large quantities at low cost, it is expected that this novel catalyst will be used commercially in products such as "safe and healthy interior construction materials" that can decompose harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to purify indoor environments, where little ultraviolet (UV) radiation exists.
The results of this research have been published in Angewandte Chemie–International Edition, a German academic journal published by Wiley-VCH.