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In-situ Etching-induced Self-assembly of Metal Clusters Decorated One-dimensional Semiconductor for Solar-powered Water Splitting: Unraveling Cooperative Synergy by Photoelectrochemical Investigations

Abstract

Although recent years have witnessed a cornucopia toward the synthesis of metal clusters, there has still been a paucity of reports on the photoelectrochemical (PEC) properties of metal clusters/semiconductor systems for solar energy conversion. In this work, highly ordered glutathione (GSH)-protected gold (Au) clusters (Aux@GSH) enwrapped ZnO nanowire arrays (NWs) heterostructures (Aux/ZnO NWs) have been 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-assembled on the positively charged ZnO NWs framework with intimate interfacial integration. It was unraveled that such Aux/ZnO NWs heterostructures demonstrated significantly enhanced PEC water splitting performances 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 unveiled and the merit of Aux clusters arising from its unique core-shell architecture in boosting the charge transfer process was highlighted by strict and systematic comparison under the identical conditions, based on which Aux clusters-mediated PEC water splitting mechanism was delineated. It is anticipated that our work could highlight the possibility of harnessing metal clusters as efficient light-harvest antennas and open new avenues toward rational construction of various more-energy-efficient metal cluster/semiconductor heterostructures for wide-spread photocatalytic and PEC applications.

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Publication details

The article was accepted on 09 Oct 2017 and first published on 11 Oct 2017


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7NR06697J
Citation: Nanoscale, 2017, Accepted Manuscript
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    In-situ Etching-induced Self-assembly of Metal Clusters Decorated One-dimensional Semiconductor for Solar-powered Water Splitting: Unraveling Cooperative Synergy by Photoelectrochemical Investigations

    F. Xiao and B. Liu, Nanoscale, 2017, Accepted Manuscript , DOI: 10.1039/C7NR06697J

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