Zinc oxide and doping effects of Cu on its structural, morphological, optical, and surface wettability properties and the consequent influence on photoelectrochemical solar cell performance has been reviewed. Cu dopant in the doping solution is varied in the range of 1 to 5 at.% which significantly affected the properties of ZnO. Slight changes in the lattice parameters of the Cu-doped zinc oxide (CZO) electrodes were reported, due to the successful substitution of Zn2+ by Cu2+ and also enhancement in crystallinity of the films at 3 at.% Cu due to reduction in crystallographic defects in the film. Surface morphologies were reported with densely grown nanorods over the varied range of Cu, with 3 at.% having the densest microstructures with average diameter approximately 125 nm. A review of optical properties indicated significant enhancement in absorption edge of approximately 60 nm into the visible band for the nanorods with 3 at.% Cu content due to light scattering. Optical energy band-gaps decrease from 3.03 to 2.70 eV with Cu doping. Surface wettability was adjudged hydrophilic for all the films, implying high porosity and water contact angles depended on Cu content. Photoelectrochemical cell performance indicated an n-type photoactivity in sodium sulfate (Na2SO4) electrolyte, which motivates to check its feasibility in solar cell applications.
Part of the book: Zinc Oxide Based Nano Materials and Devices