Photoreduction route for Cu2O/TiO2 nanotubes junction for enhanced photocatalytic activity†
Here, we synthesized copper(I) oxide and titanium dioxide nanotubes (TNTs) heterojunctions (HJs) by a photoreduction method using a low-power UV lamp without involving any additional steps, such as chemical reduction, surfactant, or protection agents. Transmission electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction, Raman scattering, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, diffuse reflectance spectra, and photoluminescence spectroscopy were carried out to verify the formation of a HJ between the Cu2O nanoparticles (Cu2O NPs) and TNTs. The efficiency and the rate of methylene blue photo-degradation over the Cu2O/TNTs HJ were found to be nearly double and triple compared to the isolated TNTs. The enhanced efficiency is attributed to the narrow band gap and defect states caused by the oxygen vacancies in the vicinity of HJs. Moreover, the type II band alignment of Cu2O NPs and TNTs naturally separates the photo-generated carriers and constrains the recombination process owing to the internal electric field across the Cu2O/TNTs interface.