Electrochemical fabrication of nanoporous copper films in choline chloride–urea deep eutectic solvent†
Nanoporous copper films were fabricated by a facile electrochemical alloying/dealloying process without the need of a template. A deep eutectic solvent made from choline chloride (ChCl) and urea was used with zinc oxide as the metal salt. Cyclic voltammetry was used to characterise the electrochemical reduction of zinc and follow Cu–Zn alloy formation on the copper substrate at elevated temperatures from 353 to 393 K. The alloy formation was confirmed by X-ray diffraction spectra. 3D, open and bicontinuous nanoporous copper films were obtained by in situ electrochemically etching (dealloying) of the zinc component in the Cu–Zn surface alloys at an appropriate potential (−0.4 V vs. Ag). This dealloying process was found to be highly temperature dependent and surface diffusion controlled, which involved the self-assembly of copper atoms at the alloy/electrolyte interface. Additionally, the effects of the deposition parameters, including deposition temperature, current density as well as total charge density on resulting the microstructure were investigated by scanning electron microscopy, and atomic force microscope.