Thermosensitive Cu2O–PNIPAM core–shell nanoreactors with tunable photocatalytic activity†
We report a facile and novel method for the fabrication of Cu2O@PNIPAM core–shell nanoreactors using Cu2O nanocubes as the core. The PNIPAM shell not only effectively protects the Cu2O nanocubes from oxidation, but also improves the colloidal stability of the system. The Cu2O@PNIPAM core–shell microgels can work efficiently as a photocatalyst for the decomposition of methyl orange under visible light. A significant enhancement in the catalytic activity has been observed for the core–shell microgels compared with that of pure Cu2O nanocubes. Most importantly, the photocatalytic activity of the Cu2O nanocubes can be further tuned by the thermosensitive PNIPAM shell, as rationalized by our recent theory.