Coupling p-type Cu2O nanoparticles with n-type semiconductor to form a P-N heterojunction for carrier separation and produce appropriate energy level difference for charge transfer from one semiconductor to another is a potential approach to decrease recombination rate for high-efficiency degradation. Graphene-like n-type semiconductor MoS2 multilayered nanoplates are the reasonable alternative due to its tunable bandgap with different layers and large amounts of unsaturated active sites [4-5].
In this work, two-dimensional (2D) MoS2 nanoplates with different multilayer thickness were prepared by liquid exfoliation and gradient centrifugation. Then, the MoS2 nanoplates were utilized to match the energy level of Cu2O nanoparticles to form MoS2/Cu2O nanocomposites, which have been achieved by the method of hydrothermal synthesis. Scanning Electrom Microscope images and X-ray diffraction (XRD) pattern of nanoparticles Cu2O and MoS2/Cu2O nanocomposites are shown in Fig.1. It can be seen that the morphology of Cu2O nanoparticles are truncated octahedron structure and closely attached on MoS2 nanosheets with different thickness, which was obtained at the centrifugation speed of 2000 rpm, 4000 rpm, 6000 rpm and 8000 rpm.
The photochemical behaviors of Cu2O nanoparticles and different MoS2/Cu2O nanocomposites are characterized through the degradation behaviors of methyl orange (MO) under visible light irradiation (Fig.2). The experimental results show that the degradation efficiency of MoS2/Cu2O nanocomposites can be improved by optimizing the thickness of MoS2 nanoplates from few layers to bulk. The degradation ratios of MO after 3 h are 57.9%, 61.1%, 92.2%, 95.3%, 93.1%, and correspond respectively to the MoS2/Cu2O nanocomposites in which the MoS2 nanosheets were obtained at the centrifugation speed of 0 rpm, 2000 rpm, 4000 rpm, 6000 rpm and 8000 rpm. The possible reason is that the increasing surface area and bandgap of MoS2 may provide large reaction area and produce appropriate energy level difference, which is beneficial for accelerating the degradation process of methyl orange.
In summary, the different MoS2/Cu2O heterojunction nanocomposites were prepared through adjusting the thickness of multilayered MoS2 nanoplates. The results show that the optimized degradation ratio of MO can be greatly improved from 57.9% up to 95.3% after 3h using MoS2/Cu2O nanocomposites in comparison with Cu2O nanoparticles.
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