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Issue 43, 2017
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In situ etching-induced self-assembly of metal cluster decorated one-dimensional semiconductors for solar-powered water splitting: unraveling cooperative synergy by photoelectrochemical investigations

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Abstract

Although recent years have witnessed considerable progress in the synthesis of metal clusters, there is still a paucity of reports on photoelectrochemical (PEC) properties of metal cluster/semiconductor systems for solar energy conversion. In this work, highly ordered glutathione (GSH)-protected gold (Au) cluster (Aux@GSH) enwrapped ZnO nanowire array (NW) heterostructures (Aux/ZnO NWs) were designed by a facile, green, simple yet efficient in situ etching-induced electrostatic self-assembly strategy by modulating the intrinsic surface charge properties of building blocks, which renders negatively charged Aux clusters spontaneously and uniformly self-assembles them on positively charged ZnO NWs framework with intimate interfacial integration. It was unraveled that such Aux/ZnO NWs heterostructures demonstrated significantly enhanced PEC water splitting performance in comparison with single ZnO NWs, Au nanoparticles (Au/ZnO NWs) and GSH-capped Agx clusters (Agx/ZnO NWs) decorated ZnO NWs counterparts under both simulated solar and visible light irradiation. The vitally important role of Aux clusters as photosensitizer was unambiguously revealed and the merits of Aux clusters in boosting charge transfer arising from their unique core–shell architecture were highlighted by systematic comparison under identical conditions, based on which Aux cluster-mediated PEC water splitting mechanism is delineated. It is anticipated that our work can highlight the possibility of harnessing metal clusters as efficient light-harvest antennas and open new avenues for rational construction of various highly energy efficient metal cluster/semiconductor heterostructures for widespread photocatalytic and PEC applications.

Graphical abstract: In situ etching-induced self-assembly of metal cluster decorated one-dimensional semiconductors for solar-powered water splitting: unraveling cooperative synergy by photoelectrochemical investigations

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Publication details

The article was received on 08 Sep 2017, accepted on 09 Oct 2017 and first published on 11 Oct 2017


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7NR06697J
Citation: Nanoscale, 2017,9, 17118-17132
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    In situ etching-induced self-assembly of metal cluster decorated one-dimensional semiconductors for solar-powered water splitting: unraveling cooperative synergy by photoelectrochemical investigations

    F. Xiao and B. Liu, Nanoscale, 2017, 9, 17118
    DOI: 10.1039/C7NR06697J

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