Influence of Cu nanoparticle size on the photo-electrochemical response from Cu–multiwall carbon nanotube composites

Manuela Scarselli, Paola Castrucci, Luca Camilli, Silvano Del Gobbo, S. Casciardi, F. Tombolini, E. Gatto, E. Venanzi, Maurizio De Crescenzi

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


We show that Cu metal nanoparticle–multiwall carbon nanotube (MWCNT) assemblies can act as a new hybrid photoactive layer in photo-electrochemical devices. The carbon nanotube (CNT) composites were formed by a controlled thermal deposition of copper which produced crystalline metal nanoparticles localized on the carbon tube outer walls. The photoresponse evaluated in terms of IPCE (incident photon-to-charge carrier generation efficiency) varied for different sized-Cu–MWCNT samples across all the visible and near ultraviolet photon energy range with respect to the response of bare MWCNTs. In the case of 0.2 nm Cu nominal thickness, the IPCE increased, reaching 15%, a value 2.5 times higher than that measured for bare MWCNTs. As the Cu nominal coverage thickened, the IPCE started to decrease and become totally ineffective after 1 nm deposited Cu. The IPCE increase found was interpreted as being the result of a remarkable charge transfer between the Cu metal nanoparticles and the CNTs due to the formation of a strong ionic bond at their interface. The results obtained prove that the metal nanoparticle–CNT composites have optical, electrical and structural properties that can be applied in a variety of nanoscale architectures for novel photo-electrochemical devices.
(Some figures in this article are in colour only in the electronic version)
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 9 Dec 2014
Externally publishedYes


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