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Single-step fabrication of 3D hierarchical ZnO/ZnS heterojunction branched nanowires by MOCVD for enhanced photoelectrochemical water splitting

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Abstract

We report a systematic and scalable single-step growth of three-dimensional hierarchical ZnO/ZnS heterojunction branched nanowires (3D ZnO/ZnS h-b-NWs) on a Si substrate using MOCVD for the first time and their application as photoanodes for photoelectrochemical water splitting (PEC-WS). Vertically well-aligned main trunk ZnO nanowires (MTr-ZnO NWs) were grown on a low-temperature ZnO buffer layer, which was followed by ZnS deposition. Subsequently, hierarchically branched ZnO nanowires (h-b-ZnO NWs) were grown on the side wall of the core–shell heterostructure, which was further modified with a thin layer of ZnS for the growth of multiple ZnO NW branches. The PEC-WS results revealed that the photo-conversion efficiency achieved using MTr-ZnO NWs and 3D ZnO/ZnS h-b-NWs was 0.03% and 0.46% at 0.5 V vs. RHE, respectively, which corresponds to 16-fold enhancement. The achieved improvements can be attributed to the enhanced photoabsorption, which is directly related to the augmented surface area. In addition, ZnS plays a significant role in promoting faster photogenerated carrier transport with high efficiency and visible light absorption by type-II transition at the ZnO/ZnS interface. The novel growth approach that we followed to fabricate the photoanode opens a new avenue for the synthesis of multiple-level hierarchical heterostructures that are beneficial for PEC-WS devices.

Graphical abstract: Single-step fabrication of 3D hierarchical ZnO/ZnS heterojunction branched nanowires by MOCVD for enhanced photoelectrochemical water splitting

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Supplementary files

Article information


Submitted
15 Dec 2019
Accepted
13 Feb 2020
First published
14 Feb 2020

J. Mater. Chem. A, 2020, Advance Article
Article type
Paper

Single-step fabrication of 3D hierarchical ZnO/ZnS heterojunction branched nanowires by MOCVD for enhanced photoelectrochemical water splitting

M. A. Hassan, A. Waseem, M. A. Johar, I. V. Bagal, J. Ha and S. Ryu, J. Mater. Chem. A, 2020, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/C9TA13714A

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