Synthesis of core–shell heterostructured Cu/Cu2O nanowires monitored by in situ XRD as efficient visible-light photocatalysts†
Core–shell heterostructured Cu/Cu2O nanowires with a high aspect ratio were synthesized from Cu foam using a novel oxidation/reduction process. In situ XRD was used as an efficient tool to acquire phase transformation details during the temperature-programmed oxidation of Cu foam and the subsequent reduction process. Based on knowledge of the crucial phase transformation, optimal synthesis conditions for producing high-quality CuO and core–shell Cu/Cu2O nanowires were determined. In favor of efficient charge separation induced by the special core–shell heterostructure and the advanced three-dimensional spatial configuration, Cu/Cu2O nanowires exhibited superior visible-light activity in the degradation of methylene blue. The present study illustrates a novel strategy for fabricating efficiently core–shell heterostructured nanowires and provides the potential for developing their applications in electronic devices, for environmental remediation and in solar energy utilization fields.