Fabrication and Photoelectrochemical Applications of II-VI Semiconductor Nanomaterials
Abstract: In this work we investigated fabrication of semiconductor nanomaterials and evaluated their potential for photo-chemical and photovoltaic applications. We investigated different II-VI semiconductor nanomaterial systems; (i) ZnO oriented nanowire arrays non-epitaxially grown from a substrate; and (ii) colloidal CdE (E=Te,Se,S) quantum structures synthesized by solution-based thermal decomposition of organo-metallic precursors.We have studied the synthesis of vertically aligned ZnO nanowire arrays (NWA), by a wet chemical process on various substrates. We have extended this method wherein nanofibers of poly-L-lactide act as a substrate for the radially oriented growth of ZnO nanowires. By combining the large surface area and the flexibility of the PLLA-ZnO hierarchical nanostructure we have shown the proof-of-principle demonstration of a ‘continuous-flow’ water treatment system to decompose known organic pollutants in water, as well as render common waterborne bacteria non-viable.We have studied synthesis of colloidal quantum dots (QD), and show size, morphology and composition tailored nanocrystals for CdE (E=S, Se, Te) compositions. We have studied the influence of crystal growth habits of the nanocrtsyals on the final morphology. Furthermore we have synthesized core-shell, CdSe-CdS QDs with spherical and tetrahedral morphologies by varying the reaction conditions. We show that these core-shell quantum dots show quasi-type II characteristics, and demonstrate with I-V measurements, the spatial localization of the charge carriers in these hetero-nanocrystals. For this purpose, we developed hybrid materials consisting of the core-shell quantum dots with electron acceptors (ZnO nanowires) and hole acceptors (polymeric P3HT nanofibers).In addition we have also compared the synthesis reaction when carried out with conventional heating and microwave-mediated heating. We find that the reaction is enhanced, and the yield is qualitatively better when using microwave induced heating.
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