ZnO and carbon nanocomposites for enhanced photoelectrochemical sensing activity: influence of the carbon content
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In this work, carbon and zinc oxide (ZnO:C) nanocomposites were obtained by a hydrothermal reaction process. ZnO nanoparticles were first prepared by a homogeneous coprecipitation method. Nanocomposites with atomic concentrations of carbon ranging from 39.4 to 69.7 wt.% were then attained. The microstructure and morphology of each prepared nanocomposite was investigated by X-ray diffraction (XRD), Raman spectroscopy, and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The ZnO:C nanocomposites were found to present a wurtzite-type hexagonal crystalline structure that shifted towards an amorphous state with increasing C content. Results showed that incorporating the covalent carbon at O sites in the ZnO lattice causes lattice compression. Due to their low band-gap energies, the photoresponses of the ZnO:C nanocomposites extended into the visible region. The sensing characteristics of ZnO:C nanocomposite films were also investigated, and a major improvement in the photoelectrochemical (PEC) efficiency was obtained when the C content was 39 wt.%.
KeywordsZnO Carbon PEC Hydrothermal SEM
The authors would like to acknowledge the financial support from the University of Sharjah (project No. 1602143028-P). The authors are also grateful to Mohamed Shameer and Mohamed Adil Abbassi for their technical support.
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