This study synthesized pure anatase carbon doped TiO2 photocatalysts supported on a stainless
steel mesh using a sol-gel solution of 8% polyacrylonitrile (PAN)/dimethylformamide
(DMF)/TiCl4. The influence of the pyrolysis temperature and holding time on the morphological
characteristics, particle sizes and surface area of the prepared catalyst was investigated.
The prepared catalysts were characterized by several analytical methods: high resolution
scanning electron microscopy (HRSEM), energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS), X-ray
diffraction (XRD), Brunauer-Emmett-Teller (BET), and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy
(XPS). The XRD patterns showed that the supported TiO2 nanocrystals are typically anatase,
polycrystalline and body-centered tetragonal in structure. The EDS and XPS results complemented
one another and confirmed the presence of carbon species in or on the TiO2 layer,
and the XPS data suggested the substitution of titanium in TiO2 by carbon. Instead of using
calcination, PAN pyrolysis was used to control the carbon content, and the mesoporosity was
tailored by the applied temperature. The supported TiO2 nanocrystals prepared by pyrolysis
at 300, 350, and 400°C for 3 h on a stainless steel mesh were actual supported carbon doped
TiO2 nanocrystals. Thus, PAN/DMF/TiCl4 offers a facile, robust sol-gel related route for
preparing supported carbon doped TiO2 nanocomposites.