Ultrafast epitaxial growth of CuO nanowires using atmospheric pressure plasma with enhanced electrocatalytic and photocatalytic activities

Avishek Dey, Paheli Ghosh, Gauthaman Chandrabose, Lois Damptey, Kugan Kuganathan, Sami Sainio, Dennis Nordlund, Vimalnath Selvaraj, Alexander Chroneos, N. St. J. Braithwaite, Satheesh Krishnamurthy

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    This work reports an environment friendly alternative to epitaxially grow copper oxide nanowires (NWs) on copper substrates using single step atmospheric pressure plasma jet assisted oxidation. NWs of average length 300 nm are grown rapidly in 5 minutes along with transforming the surface to superhydrophilic. This method introduces defects in the nanowire structure which is otherwise difficult to achieve due to the highly isotropic nature of nanowire growth. High resolution transmission electron microscopy reveals vacancies and structural defects such as lattice twinning and kinks. Theoretical investigations using density functional theory calculations indicated that oxygen vacancies reduces the adsorption energy of methanol molecules onto the CuO (111) surface and shifts the Fermi level towards conduction band. During electrocatalysis, these defect-rich nanowires exhibit twice the catalytic activity toward oxygen evolution reaction (OER) and methanol oxidation reaction (MOR) in comparison to the traditionally thermally grown nanowires. Moreover, retreating the electrodes after each stability test drops the contact resistance similar to the prisitine sample. Additionally, these NW photocathodes demonstrate an exceptional photocurrent of 2.2 mAcm–2 and have an excellent degradation activity towards organic pollutants namely phenol and paracetamol. This facile growth method can be used to engineer nanowires of other transition metals with enhanced activities.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)627-642
    Number of pages16
    JournalNano Select
    Issue number3
    Early online date27 Jul 2021
    Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 Jul 2021

    Bibliographical note

    This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited


    • Copper oxide
    • Defect engineering
    • Dye degradation
    • Electrocatalysis
    • Nanowire
    • Photocatalysis methanol oxidation


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