Enhanced ethanol sensing properties of ultrathin ZnO nanosheets decorated with CuO nanoparticles

Xiao Liu, Ye Sun, Miao Yu, Yongqi Yin, Baosheng Du, Wei Tang, Tingting Jiang, Bin Yang, Wenwu Cao, Michael N.R. Ashfold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Ultrathin two-dimensional ZnO nanosheets (NSs) with thicknesses of just a few nanometers have been fabricated by a solvothermal method. The very large surface area to volume ratio of this material translates into outstanding electrical sensing responses to ethanol (as high as S ∼ 97 to 200 ppm of ethanol at a working temperature of 320 °C). Decorating these ZnO NSs with CuO nanoparticles (NPs), by pulsed laser ablation of a CuO target at room temperature and then post-annealing at 400 °C, yields CuO-ZnO NSs that display a further up to 2-fold enhanced response to ethanol vapour, reduced sensor response and recovery times, high sensing repeatability and high selectivity. Mechanisms underpinning the enhanced sensing properties of the CuO-ZnO NSs are discussed in terms of CuO NP-induced p-n junction depletion regions and increases in the density of active sites for ethanol adsorption and for reaction with adsorbed oxygen species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3384-3390
Number of pages7
JournalSensors and Actuators, B: Chemical
StatePublished - Feb 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Instrumentation
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Metals and Alloys
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Materials Chemistry


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