Fabrication of Core-Shell Nanotube Array for Artificial Photosynthesis Featuring an Ultrathin Composite Separation Membrane Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Macroscale arrays of cobalt oxide–silica core–shell nanotubes with high aspect ratio and ultrathin walls of less than 20 nm have been fabricated. The silica shells feature embedded oligo-para(phenylenevinylene) molecules for charge transport across the insulating silica layer, which is tightly controlled by their electronic properties. The assembly is based on the use of a sacrificial Si nanorod array template combined with atomic layer deposition, covalent anchoring of organic wire molecules, and dry cryo-etching. High-resolution TEM imaging of samples prepared by microtome affords structural details of single core–shell nanotubes. The integrity of silica-embedded organic wire molecules exposed to atomic layer deposition, thermal treatment, and harsh etching procedures is demonstrated by grazing angle ATR FT-IR, FT-Raman, and XPS spectroscopy. The inorganic oxide-based core–shell nanotubes with ultrathin gas-impermeable, proton-conducting silica shells functionalized by molecular wires enable complete nanoscale photosynthetic units for CO2 reduction by H2O under membrane separation. Arrays of massive numbers of such core–shell nanotube units afford a design that extends the separation of the incompatible H2O oxidation and CO2 reduction catalysis environments across the continuum of length scales from nanometers to centimeters.

publication date

  • January 1, 2018