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Issue 24, 2013
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Electronic structure and morphology of dark oxides on zinc generated by electrochemical treatment

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Abstract

Oxides formed by electrochemical treatment of metals frequently have properties and structures very different from the respective bulk oxides. Here, electronic structure and chemical composition were investigated for the oxide formed on polycrystalline zinc after electrochemical oxidation, and after subsequent reduction, in a Na2CO3 electrolyte. Photoluminescence and spectroscopic ellipsometry show the presence of states deep in the ZnO band gap in the oxidized sample, which consists of a highly disordered oxide. These states determine the absorption of light in the visible spectral range. After reduction, the characteristics of the ZnO electronic structure have disappeared, leaving a defect-dominated material with a band gap of ∼1.8 eV. Complementary detailed analysis of the morphology of the resulting surfaces shows hexagon-shaped metallic Zn-“nanoplates” to be formed in the reduction step. The optical appearance of the surfaces is dark, because of their efficient extinction of light over a large part of the visible spectrum. The optical appearance is a result of changed surface morphology and electronic structure of the oxide film. Such materials may possess interesting applications in photocatalysis or photoelectrochemistry.

Graphical abstract: Electronic structure and morphology of dark oxides on zinc generated by electrochemical treatment

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Publication details

The article was received on 31 Dec 2012, accepted on 23 Apr 2013 and first published on 24 Apr 2013


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C3CP44714F
Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2013,15, 9812-9822
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    Electronic structure and morphology of dark oxides on zinc generated by electrochemical treatment

    Y. Chen, P. Schneider, B. Liu, S. Borodin, B. Ren and A. Erbe, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2013, 15, 9812
    DOI: 10.1039/C3CP44714F

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