Controlled growth of ZnO/Zn1−xPbxSe core–shell nanowires and their interfacial electronic energy alignment†
ZnO/Zn1−xPbxSe core–shell nanowires (NWs) have been synthesized by a solution based surface ion transfer method at various temperatures. The energy dispersive spectroscopic (EDS) mapping of single NWs suggests that the Zn, Pb and Se atoms are uniformly distributed in their shell layers. The ternary Zn1−xPbxSe layers with tunable bandgaps extend the band-edge of optical absorption from 450 nm to 700 nm contrasting with the binary ZnSe layers. The ultraviolet photoelectron spectroscopic (UPS) analysis reveals a transition from the type I to type II band alignment when the x fraction decreases from 0.66 to the value of 0.36 in the nanoshell layers. This quantitative investigation of electronic energy levels at ZnO and Zn1−xPbxSe interfaces indicates that the proper type II band alignment is well suited for photovoltaic energy conversion. The photovoltaic cells comprising a ZnO/Zn1−xPbxSe nano-heterojunction with the optimized Pb content are expected to be more efficient than the devices sensitized by binary ZnSe or PbSe.