Facet-dependent and Au nanocrystal-enhanced electrical and photocatalytic properties of Au-Cu2O core-shell heterostructures

Chun Hong Kuo, Yu Chen Yang, Shangjr Gwo*, Michael H. Huang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

224 Scopus citations


We report highly facet-dependent electrical properties of Cu2O nanocubes and octahedra and significant enhancement of gold nanocrystal cores to the electrical conductivity of Au-Cu2O core-shell octahedra. Cu 2O nanocubes and octahedra and Au-Cu2O coreshell cubes and octahedra were synthesized by following our reported facile procedures at room temperature. Two oxide-free tungsten probes attached to a nanomanipulator installed inside a scanning electron microscope made contacts to a single Cu2O nanocrystal for the I-V measurements. Pristine Cu2O octahedra bounded by {111} facets are 1100 times more conductive than pristine Cu2O cubes enclosed by {100} faces, which are barely conductive. Core-shell cubes are only slightly more conductive than pristine cubes. A 10 000-fold increase in conductivity over a cube has been recorded for an octahedron. Remarkably, core-shell octahedra are far more conductive than pristine octahedra. The same facet-dependent electrical behavior can still be observed on a single nanocrystal exposing both {111} and {100} facets. This new fundamental property may be observable in other semiconductor nanocrystals. We also have shown that both core-shell cubes and octahedra outperform pristine cubes and octahedra in the photodegradation of methyl orange. Efficient photoinduced charge separation is attributed to this enhanced photocatalytic activity. Interestingly, facet-selective etching occurred over the {100} corners of some octahedra and core-shell octahedra during photocatalysis. The successful preparation of Au-Cu2O core-shell heterostructures with precise shape control has offered opportunities to discover new and exciting physical and chemical properties of nanocrystals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1052-1057
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2 Feb 2011


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