3 years ago

Graphene as a thin-film catalyst booster: Graphene-catalyst interface plays a critical role.

Youn Sang Kim, Won Jin Choi, Sieun Chae, Soo Sang Chae, Hyunju Chang, Jeong O Lee, Seunghun Jang, Taeil Lee
Due to its extreme thinness, graphene can transmit some surface properties of its underlying substrate, a phenomenon referred to as graphene transparency. Here we demonstrate the application of the transparency of graphene as a protector of thin-film catalysts and a booster of their catalytic efficiency. The photocatalytic degradation of dye molecules by ZnO thin films was chosen as a model system. A ZnO thin film coated with monolayer graphene showed greater catalytic efficiency and long-term stability than did bare ZnO. Interestingly, we found the catalytic efficiency of the graphene-coated ZnO thin film to depend critically on the nature of the bottom ZnO layer; graphene transferred to a relatively rough, sputter-coated ZnO thin film showed rather poor catalytic degradation of the dye molecules while a smooth sol-gel-synthesized ZnO covered with monolayer graphene showed enhanced catalytic degradation. Based on a systematic investigation of the interface between graphene and ZnO thin films, we concluded the transparency of graphene to be critically dependent on its interface with a supporting substrate. Graphene supported on an atomically flat substrate was found to efficiently transmit the properties of the substrate, but graphene suspended on a substrate with a rough nanoscale topography was completely opaque to the substrate properties. Our experimental observations revealed the morphology of the substrate to be a key factor affecting the transparency of graphene, and should be taken into account in order to optimally apply graphene as a protector of catalytic thin films and a booster of their catalysis.

Publisher URL: http://doi.org/10.1088/1361-6528/aa94b0

DOI: 10.1088/1361-6528/aa94b0

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