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Nanoscale. 2014 Aug 7;6(15):8796-803. doi: 10.1039/c4nr01607f.

A facile green antisolvent approach to Cu2+-doped ZnO nanocrystals with visible-light-responsive photoactivities.

Author information

1
Department of Materials Science and Engineering, National Chiao Tung University, Hsinchu, Taiwan 30010, Republic of China. yhsu@cc.nctu.edu.tw.

Abstract

An environmentally benign antisolvent method has been developed to prepare Cu(2+)-doped ZnO nanocrystals with controllable dopant concentrations. A room temperature ionic liquid, known as a deep eutectic solvent (DES), was used as the solvent to dissolve ZnO powders. Upon the introduction of the ZnO-containing DES into a bad solvent which shows no solvation to ZnO, ZnO was precipitated and grown due to the dramatic decrease of solubility. By adding Cu(2+) ions to the bad solvent, the growth of ZnO from the antisolvent process was accompanied by Cu(2+) introduction, resulting in the formation of Cu(2+)-doped ZnO nanocrystals. The as-prepared Cu(2+)-doped ZnO showed an additional absorption band in the visible range (400-800 nm), which conduced to an improvement in the overall photon harvesting efficiency. Time-resolved photoluminescence spectra, together with the photovoltage information, suggested that the doped Cu(2+) may otherwise trap photoexcited electrons during the charge transfer process, inevitably depressing the photoconversion efficiency. The photoactivity of Cu(2+)-doped ZnO nanocrystals for photoelectrochemical water oxidation was effectively enhanced in the visible region, which achieved the highest at 2.0 at% of Cu(2+). A further increase in the Cu(2+) concentration however led to a decrease in the photocatalytic performance, which was ascribed to the significant carrier trapping caused by the increased states given by excessive Cu(2+). The photocurrent action spectra illustrated that the enhanced photoactivity of the Cu(2+)-doped ZnO nanocrystals was mainly due to the improved visible photon harvesting achieved by Cu(2+) doping. These results may facilitate the use of transition metal ion-doped ZnO in other photoconversion applications, such as ZnO based dye-sensitized solar cells and magnetism-assisted photocatalytic systems.

PMID:
24954742
DOI:
10.1039/c4nr01607f
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