China University of Science and Technology has developed a full-spectrum solar absorption and efficient charge separation

China University of Science and Technology has developed a ternary sulfide nano-heterostructure with solar full spectrum absorption and high-efficiency charge separation

Solar radiation energy is currently the world’s most abundant source of clean and sustainable energy. By designing semiconducting sulfide nanostructures, it is expected to efficiently convert solar energy into other energy (such as chemical energy, electric energy, and thermal energy). Sulfide heterogeneous nanostructures can integrate the advantages of different material components and often can achieve synergistic effects over a single component. How to design a reasonable synthesis method to prepare novel and unique sulphide heterogeneous nanostructures and accurately regulate the composition, distribution and morphology of the materials is still a key issue to be solved.

Recently, Professor Yu Shuhong's research group of the University of Science and Technology of China and Jiang Jun's research group have made new progress in the design and synthesis of one-dimensional sulfide nanorods and solar energy conversion applications. Efficient use of solar energy requires that the semiconductor material can simultaneously absorb different spectral ranges of solar radiation during the light conversion process and can effectively separate the light-excited electrons and holes. In order to achieve this goal, the researchers successfully prepared a unique ternary [ZnS-CdS-Cu2-xS]-ZnS-sulfide heterogeneous nanorod based on a colloidal chemical conversion method, ie, a ZnS nanorod embedded on multiple CdS-Cu2-xS composite nano nodal sheath. The prepared ternary sulfide heterogeneous nanorods can effectively absorb the ultraviolet, visible and near-infrared regions of sunlight. Selective compounding of CdS-Cu2-xS in the ternary system can form PN junctions and lead to CdS-Cu2-xS formation of type-II heterostructures, making the charge carriers in ternary systems from ZnS and Cu2-xS, respectively. The conduction band is directed toward the conduction band of CdS, and the holes are concentrated in the valence band of Cu2-xS, realizing the spatial separation of electrons and holes. The enhanced solar absorption and the effective separation of carriers have significantly improved the performance of this novel ternary sulfurized heterogeneous nanorod in solar energy conversion applications.

This sulphide heterogeneous nanostructure with no precious metals involved provides a new material design concept for traditional semiconductor optoelectronic applications. The research results were recently published in VIP Paper in German Applied Chemistry (Angew. Chem. - Int. Ed. 2016, 55(22), 6396-6400) and were selected as Front Cover. The co-first authors of the relevant work are postdoctoral doctor Tao Tao, doctoral student Liu Yan and master student Li Yi. After the publication of the paper, it received extensive attention from academic media.

Previously, the researchers also succeeded in constructing a unique one-dimensional colloidal ternary multi-node sheath sulfide-(sulfide/metal) heterogeneous nanorod through a continuous chemical conversion strategy in which metal nanoparticles are selectively modified in the segmented The nodes are sheathed, and in this way, the structural transformation from type-I to type-II is realized. The increase in photocatalytic hydrogen production efficiency indicates that the unique ternary structure designed [ZnS-(CdS/metal)]-ZnS-[ZnS-(CdS/metal)]-ZnS- has the advantages of charge separation and electron transport. Significant advantage. Electrons are transferred from one semiconductor to two materials that are not in contact with each other, thus forming two electron-rich active centers. This design strategy provides a new perspective for the use of appropriate components for energy band engineering regulation and further enhancement of its synergistic functions, and provides new ideas for the rational design of photovoltaic-functional nanosystems (Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2015, 54 (39), 11495-11500. Hot Paper. Inside Cover).

The research work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China's Innovative Research Group, the National Major Scientific Research Project, the Suzhou Nanotechnology Collaborative Innovation Center, the Key Deployment Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the National Natural Science Foundation of China.

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