Titania (i.e., titanium dioxide) nanotubes have shown potential for use in photocatalytic sensors, biological and other applications. Fibrous titanates have also found industrial use as a strengthening additive in composite materials. Currently, very few approaches are available for fabrication of titania nanotube templates. To date, titania nanotube arrays for such applications have been fabricated by anodization in fluoride-containing media and perchloric acid solutions. However, these techniques are associated with many possible limitations such as production of low aspect ratio nanotubes and structural organization, slow processing speed, health risks, and production of highly corrosive by-products.

Technology Overview

Northeastern University inventors provide a new method of preparing titania nanotubes by anodization of titanium metal in chloride ion-containing electrolytic solutions. The method results in very rapid formation of titania nanotubes which can attain high aspect ratios and the nanotubes can be grown to tens or hundreds of microns in length. The titania nanotubes formed by the methods of this invention can spontaneously organize into tightly packed parallel arrays of nanotubes which can be doped with high levels of carbon by inclusion of organic acids in the electrolyte solution. 

The fabrication protocol developed for this invention also avoids the use of toxic chemicals. These titania nanotubes are suitable for use in solar cells for the production of hydrogen, as hydrogen sensors, and as a strengthening agent in composite materials.


  • Rapid and cost-effective fabrication of titania nanotubes with tunable carbon content
  • Higher aspect ratio nanotubes compared to conventional approaches
  • Avoids the use of toxic chemicals


  • Solar cells
  • Photocatalytic sensors, gas sensors
  • Photocatalysis (degradation of organic pollutants, production of solar hydrogen)
  • Strengthening nanofibrous additive in composite materials
  • Biomedical applications


  • License
  • Partnering
  • Research collaboration



  • Development partner
  • Commercial partner
  • Licensing

IP Status

  • Patented


Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Mark Saulich
Associate Director of Commercialization
Northeastern University
Latika Menon
Christiaan Richter
Ronald Willey