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Electrochemical Properties and Applications of Nanocrystalline, Microcrystalline, and Epitaxial Cubic Silicon Carbide Films

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journal contribution
posted on 27.05.2015, 00:00 by Hao Zhuang, Nianjun Yang, Lei Zhang, Regina Fuchs, Xin Jiang
Microstructures of the materials (e.g., crystallinitiy, defects, and composition, etc.) determine their properties, which eventually lead to their diverse applications. In this contribution, the properties, especially the electrochemical properties, of cubic silicon carbide (3C-SiC) films have been engineered by controlling their microstructures. By manipulating the deposition conditions, nanocrystalline, microcrystalline and epitaxial (001) 3C-SiC films are obtained with varied properties. The epitaxial 3C-SiC film presents the lowest double-layer capacitance and the highest reversibility of redox probes, because of its perfect (001) orientation and high phase purity. The highest double-layer capacitance and the lowest reversibility of redox probes have been realized on the nanocrystalline 3C-SiC film. Those are ascribed to its high amount of grain boundaries, amorphous phases and large diversity in its crystal size. Based on their diverse properties, the electrochemical performances of 3C-SiC films are evaluated in two kinds of potential applications, namely an electrochemical capacitor using a nanocrystalline film and an electrochemical dopamine sensor using the epitaxial 3C-SiC film. The nanocrystalline 3C-SiC film shows not only a high double layer capacitance (43–70 μF/cm2) but also a long-term stability of its capacitance. The epitaxial 3C-SiC film shows a low detection limit toward dopamine, which is one to 2 orders of magnitude lower than its normal concentration in tissue. Therefore, 3C-SiC film is a novel but designable material for different emerging electrochemical applications such as energy storage, biomedical/chemical sensors, environmental pollutant detectors, and so on.