Nanotextured cupric oxide nanofibers coated with atomic layer deposited ZnO-TiO2 as highly efficient photocathodes

Min woo Kim, Hyun Yoon, Tae Yoon Ohm, Hong Seok Jo, Seongpil An, Sung Kyu Choi, Hyunwoong Park, Salem S. Al-Deyab, Byoung Koun Min, Mark T. Swihart, Sam S. Yoon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


We report the fabrication and performance of a CuO/ZnO/TiO2 nanofiber photocathode that achieved a photocurrent density (PCD) of −4.1 mA/cm2, which is among the highest PCD values reported for a copper oxide based photocathode without a co-catalyst. To prepare this photocathode, we coated electrospun nanofibers with copper by electroplating, then dried them in air to produce cuprous oxide (Cu2O) nanofibers. Further annealing in air converted them to cupric oxide (CuO). The CuO nanofibers exhibit nanotextured surfaces, resembling the skin of the “thorny-devil” lizard of Australia, providing high accessible surface area for photocatalysis. These CuO nanofibers were uniformly coated with thin ZnO and TiO2 layers by atomic layer deposition (ALD) to promote electron migration from CuO to TiO2 and protect the CuO from corrosion. The nanofibrous photocathode films were characterized by X-ray diffraction, Raman spectroscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, atomic force microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, and transmission electron microscopy, as well as by incident photon-to-electron conversion efficiency measurements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)479-485
Number of pages7
JournalApplied Catalysis B: Environmental
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Feb 1


  • Atomic layer deposition
  • Cupric oxide nanofibers
  • Photocathode
  • Photocurrent density
  • Water splitting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Process Chemistry and Technology


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