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Professor Yang Jinhu’s study on amorphous semiconductors has made significant progress
Published:2016-08-12 Hits:591

Professor Yang Jinhu's research work has recently been published on ACS Nano (ACS Nano, 2016, DOI: 10.1021 / acsnano) under the title "Amorphous Semiconductor Nanowires Created by Site-Specific Heteroatom Substitution with Significantly Enhanced Photoelectrochemical Performance". He Ting from its research team as the first author, Zu Lianhai as the common first author. The impact factor for ACS Nano in 2015 is 13.3.

Semiconductor nanomaterials have attracted much attention due to their special optical and electrical properties and their potential in the fields of energy and environment. At present, the study of semiconductor nano-materials is mostly crystalline. Semiconductor nanowires that have been extensively studied are typically in a crystalline phase. In contrast, amorphous semiconductor materials have many advantages in optoelectronic devices, such as higher specific surface area, higher surface activity and higher light utilization efficiency. However, the synthesis of amorphous semiconductor nanomaterials is difficult and the research is very limited, which greatly limits the development of amorphous semiconductor materials.

Much less studied are amorphous semiconductor nanowires due to the difficulty for their synthesis, despite a set of characteristics desirable for photoelectric devices, such as higher surface area, higher surface activity and higher light harvesting. In this work of combined experiment and computation, taking Zn2GeO4 (ZGO) as an example, Yang’s research proposes a site-specific heteroatom substitution strategy, through a solution-phase ions-alternative-deposition route, to prepare amorphous/crystalline Si-incorporated ZGO nanowires with tunable band structures. The substitution of Si atoms for the Zn or Ge atoms distorts the bonding network to a different extent, leading to the formation of amorphous Zn1.7Si0.3GeO4 (ZSGO) or crystalline Zn2(GeO4)0.88(SiO4)0.12 (ZGSO) nanowires, respectively, with different bandgaps. The amorphous ZSGO nanowire arrays exhibit significantly enhanced performance in photoelectrochemical water splitting, such as higher and more stable photocurrent, and faster photoresponse and recovery, relative to crystalline ZGSO and ZGO nanowires in this work, as well as ZGO photocatalysts reported previously. The remarkable performance highlights the advantages of the ZSGO amorphous nanowires for photoelectric devices, such as higher light harvesting capability, faster charge separation, lower charge recombination and higher surface catalytic activity. This study provides a new method for the controllable preparation and the band structure control of amorphous semiconductor nanomaterials.

The research was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China and the Shanghai Innovation Key Project. It received the cooperation and support from Prof. Yang Shihe of Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and Prof. Xu Xiaoxiang from our school.

Copyright © 2012 Department of chemistry, Tongji University

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