Fabrication of polyhedral Cu–Zn oxide nanoparticles by dealloying and anodic oxidation of German silver alloy for photoelectrochemical water splitting

Author's Department

Energy Materials Laboratory

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Nour Bahnasawy, Abdussalam M. Elbanna, Mohamed Ramadan, Nageh K. Allam

Document Type

Research Article

Publication Title

Scientific Reports

Publication Date

Fall 10-6-2022




A significant effort has been dedicated to the synthesis of Cu–Zn oxide nanoparticles as a robust photocathode material for photoelectrochemical water splitting. Cu–Zn oxide nanoparticles were formed by controlled anodization of German silver (Cu–Zn–Ni) alloy in an aqueous electrolyte. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) demonstrates the dependence of the obtained nanostructures on the anodization time. The X-ray diffraction (XRD) patterns showed the formation of copper oxide (CuO) and zinc oxide (ZnO) nanoparticles with good stability. This was also confirmed by the compositional X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) analysis. The obtained polyhedral nanoparticles showed high optical activity with adequate bandgap energy. These optimized nanoparticles achieved boosted photocurrent of − 0.55 mA/cm2 at − 0.6 V vs. SCE under AM 1.5 illumination, confirming the role of the optimized dealloying and thermal treatment in tuning the photoelectrochemical performance of the material.

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