This study focuses on the incorporation of gold nanoparticles (Au NPs) into our previously synthesized mesoporous titania thin films consisting of titania nanopillars and inverse mesospace (C. W. Wu, T. Ohsuna, M. Kuwabara and K. Kuroda, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2006, 128, 4544-4545, denoted as MTTFs). Recently, mesoporous titania materials doped with noble metals such as gold have attracted considerable attention because noble metals can enhance the efficiency of mesoporous titania-based devices. In this research, we attempted to use four different reduction methods (i.e., thermal treatment, photo irradiation, liquid immersion, and vapor contacting) to introduce gold nanoparticles (Au NPs) into MTTFs. The synthesized Au@MTTFs were characterized by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). We further systematically investigated the formation mechanism of gold nanoparticles on the external and internal surfaces of the MTTFs. With the assistance of a silica sacrificial layer, well-dispersed Au NPs with sizes of 4.1 nm were obtained inside the MTTF by photo irradiation. The synthesized Au@MTTF materials show great potential in various photo-electronic and photo-catalytic applications.
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