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Facile synthesis of hollow Cu2O octahedral and spherical nanocrystals and their morphology-dependent photocatalytic properties

Lili Feng, Chunlei Zhang, Guo Gao and Daxiang Cui*

Author Affiliations

Department of Bio-Nano-Science and Engineering, Research Institute of Micro/Nano Science and Technology, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, 200240, People’s Republic of China

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2012, 7:276  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-7-276

Published: 30 May 2012


Herein, we report that octahedral and spherical Cu2O samples with hollow structures are synthesized in high yield by reducing Cu(EDA)22+ complex with hydrazine. A series of experiments are carried out to investigate the factors which impact on the morphology of the Cu2O samples. It is observed that ethylenediamine (EDA) serves as a molecular template in the formation of hollow structure. Octahedral Cu2O with solid structure is prepared without EDA. When EDA is added, Cu2O sample with hollow structure is formed. Different morphologies of Cu2O such as spherical and octahedral could be obtained by adjusting the concentration of EDA and NaOH. The temporal crystal growth mechanism is proposed. Furthermore, the photocatalytic activities of the as-prepared Cu2O nanoparticles are evaluated by monitoring two dyes (methyl orange and congo red) using UV-visible spectrophotometer. Results show that the order of photocatalytic activity of Cu2O with different morphologies is as follows: hollow octahedral morphology > hollow sphere morphology > solid octahedral morphology. The hollow octahedral Cu2O nanoparticles would be a promising material on applications for photocatalytic degradation of organic pollutants.

Cuprous oxide; Crystal growth; Hollow structure; Octahedral nanocrystals; Photocatalysis