Multifunctional Nanocomposites





Solar energy is one of the sustainable and increasingly popular source of energy. Bismuth titanate (Bi12 TiO20 ) (BTO) is a material which demonstrates multifunctional properties and has many uses not limited to energy conversion, energy storage, and environment. With reference to solar energy, BTO has photovoltaic applications due to its high refractive index and electro-optic coefficient. Researchers at the University of Nevada, Reno have developed simple method for preparing nanostructures of sillenite type compounds (e.g., bismuth titanate) using a hydrothermal reaction, which is less labor intensive and better maintains its photocatalytic activity, as compared to conventional methods. The method may be modified and applied for other similar classes of mixed metal oxides.



Our researchers have developed a simple synthesis method for preparing nanostructures of sillenite type compounds (nanocubes and nanotubes), including bismuth titanate. The process of making BTO nanocubes involves a hydrothermal reaction, including preparation of nanotubes by anodization of Ti foils, and reacting the titanium dioxide nanotubes with a bismuth salt in an acidic bath to form BTO crystals, which are then annealed to form BTO nanocubes, which may be loaded with nano-sized metal particles such as palladium. The resulting compounds may be useful in photovoltaic applications, environmental remediation, as well as fuel production using solar energy, such as conversion of CO2.



  • Our method is less labor-intensive
  • Our method maintains photocatalytic activity
  • Our method is environmentally friendly, inexpensive, and non-toxic


Patents and Publications

  • US 8,709,304 B2  Hydrothermal Synthesis of Nanocubes of Sillenite Type Compounds For Photovoltaic Applications and Solar Energy Conversion of Carbon Dioxide to Fuel
  • (Murugesan et al.)  Hydrothermal Synthesis of (Bi12 TiO20) Nanostructures Using Anodized TiO2 Nanotubes and its Application in Photovoltaics





Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Ellen Purpus
Assistant VP
University of Nevada, Reno
Vaidyanathan (ravi) Subramanian
Sankaran Murugesan
York Smith