Exciton quenching due to copper diffusion limits the photocatalytic activity of CdS/Cu2S nanorod heterostructures

Ilan Jen-La Plante, Ayelet Teitelboim, Iddo Pinkas, Dan Oron, Taleb Mokari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


The formation of donor/acceptor junctions in hybrid nanomaterials is predicted to enhance photocatalytic activity as compared to single-component semiconductor systems. Specifically, nanomaterials containing a junction of n-type cadmium sulfide (CdS) and p-type copper sulfide (Cu2S) formed via cation exchange have been proposed as potential photocatalysts for reactions such as water splitting. Herein, we study the elemental distribution of Cu within these nanostructures using analytical transmission electron microscopy techniques. The resulting effects of this elemental distribution on photocatalytic activity and charge dynamics were further studied using a model photoreduction reaction and transient absorption spectroscopy. We find that copper diffusion in the hybrid nanostructure quenches the exciton lifetime and results in low photocatalytic activity; however, this effect can be partially mitigated via selective extraction. These results provide a deeper understanding of the physical processes within these hybrid nanostructures and will lead to more rational design of photocatalyst materials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)590-596
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry Letters
Issue number3
StatePublished - 6 Feb 2014


  • cation exchange
  • elemental diffusion
  • exciton dynamics
  • hybrid nanomaterials
  • photocatalysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science (all)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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