Journal of Sol-Gel Science and Technology

, Volume 81, Issue 2, pp 355–361 | Cite as

Photochemical solution deposition of β-Bi2O3 thin films

  • Dulce Perez-Mezcua
  • Iñigo Bretos
  • Ricardo Jiménez
  • Jesús Ricote
  • Rafael José Jiménez-Rioboó
  • Cosmelina Gonçalves da Silva
  • Daniel Chateigner
  • Luis Fuentes-Cobas
  • Rafael Sirera
  • M. Lourdes Calzada
Original Paper: Sol-gel, hybrids and solution chemistries


The non-equilibrium β-Bi2O3 polymorph is stabilized in thin films by a photochemical synthesis method. A strong ultraviolet-absorbing bismuth(III)-N-methyldiethanolamine complex is synthesized in solution as an ideal precursor for the β-Bi2O3 phase. Ultraviolet-light induces the formation of an amorphous —Bi—O—Bi— continuous network in the films deposited from the former solution that easily converts into the β-Bi2O3 polymorph at a temperature as low as 250 °C. The room temperature stabilization of the β-Bi2O3 phase is confirmed by their structural characterization using four-circle X-ray diffractometry. This study unequivocally identified the tetragonal crystal structure of the β-Bi2O3 polymorph in the films. The high phase purity of these β-Bi2O3 films is responsible for their exceptional visible-light photocatalytic activity, thus enabling the applications of the films of this metastable phase at room-temperature conditions.

Graphical Abstract

Photosensitive precursor solutions containing a photosensitive Bi(III)-N-methyldiethanolamine complex lead to the stabilization of the high-temperature β-Bi2O3polymorph in films on Pt-coated silicon substrates prepared at a low temperature of 250 °C using UV-irradiation. Open image in new window


Photochemistry Sol-gel Metastable phases β-Bi2O3 Room-temperature stabilization Thin films Low-temperature processing Thin films 



This work has been financed by the Spanish Project MAT2013-40489-P and MAT2016-76851-R. I.B. acknowledges the financial support by Fundación General CSIC (Spanish ComFuturoProgramme)

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no competing financial interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dulce Perez-Mezcua
    • 1
    • 2
  • Iñigo Bretos
    • 1
  • Ricardo Jiménez
    • 1
  • Jesús Ricote
    • 1
  • Rafael José Jiménez-Rioboó
    • 1
  • Cosmelina Gonçalves da Silva
    • 3
  • Daniel Chateigner
    • 3
  • Luis Fuentes-Cobas
    • 4
  • Rafael Sirera
    • 2
  • M. Lourdes Calzada
    • 1
  1. 1.Instituto de Ciencia de Materiales de MadridConsejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (ICMM-CSIC)CantoblancoSpain
  2. 2.Departamento de Química, Facultad de CienciasUniversidad de NavarraPamplona Spain
  3. 3.CRISMAT—ENSICAEN and IUT-CaenUniversité de Caen NormandieCaen France
  4. 4.Centro de Investigación en Materiales AvanzadosChihuahua Mexico

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