Transition-metal oxides such as cupric and cuprous oxides are strongly correlated materials made of earth-abundant chemical elements displaying energy band gaps of around 1.2 and 2.1 eV. The ability to design nanostructures of cupric and cuprous oxide semiconductors with in situ phase change and morphological transition will benefit several applications including photovoltaic energy conversion and photoelectrochemical water splitting. Here, we have developed a physicochemical route to synthesize copper oxide nanostructures, enabling the phase change of cupric oxide into cuprous oxide using an electric field of 105 V/m in deionized water via a new synthetic design protocol called electric-field-assisted pulsed laser ablation in liquids (EFA-PLAL). The morphology of the nanostructures can also be tuned from a sphere of ∼20 nm to an elongated leaf of ∼3 μm by controlling the intensity of the applied electric field. Futuristically, the materials chemistry occurring during the EFA-PLAL synthesis protocol developed here can be leveraged to design various strongly correlated nanomaterials and heterostructures of other 3d transition-metal oxides.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Chemical Engineering(all)