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Physical Confinement Promoting Formation of Cu2O–Au Heterostructures with Au Nanoparticles Entrapped within Crystalline Cu2O Nanorods

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posted on 16.12.2016, 18:34 by Emily Asenath-Smith, Jade M. Noble, Robert Hovden, Amanda M. Uhl, Allessandra DiCorato, Yi-Yeoun Kim, Alexander N. Kulak, Fiona C. Meldrum, Lena F. Kourkoutis, Lara A. Estroff
Building on the application of cuprite (Cu2O) in solar energy technologies and reports of increased optical absorption caused by metal-to-semiconductor energy transfer, a confinement-based strategy was developed to fabricate high aspect ratio, crystalline Cu2O nanorods containing entrapped gold nanoparticles (Au nps). Cu2O was crystallized within the confines of track-etch membrane pores, where this physical, assembly based method eliminates the necessity of specific chemical interactions to achieve a well-defined metal–semiconductor interface. With high-resolution scanning/transmission electron microscopy (S/TEM) and tomography, we demonstrate the encasement of the majority of Au nps by crystalline Cu2O and show crystalline Cu2O–Au interfaces that are free of extended amorphous regions. Such nanocrystal heterostructures are good candidates for studying the transport physics of metal/semiconductor hybrids for optoelectronic applications.