The epitaxial growth of monocrystalline semiconductors on metal nanostructures is interesting from both fundamental and applied perspectives. The realization of nanostructures with excellent interfaces and material properties that also have controlled optical resonances can be very challenging. Here we report the synthesis and characterization of metal–semiconductor core–shell nanowires. We demonstrate a solution-phase route to obtain stable core–shell metal–Cu2O nanowires with outstanding control over the resulting structure, in which the noble metal nanowire is used as the nucleation site for epitaxial growth of quasi-monocrystalline Cu2O shells at room temperature in aqueous solution. We use X-ray and electron diffraction, high-resolution transmission electron microscopy, energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, photoluminescence spectroscopy, and absorption spectroscopy, as well as density functional theory calculations, to characterize the core–shell nanowires and verify their structure. Metal–semiconductor core–shell nanowires offer several potential advantages over thin film and traditional nanowire architectures as building blocks for photovoltaics, including efficient carrier collection in radial nanowire junctions and strong optical resonances that can be tuned to maximize absorption.

Nano Lett.
Nanoscale Solar Cells

Sciacca, B, Mann, S, Tichelaar, F.D, Zandbergen, H.W, van Huis, M.A, & Garnett, E.C. (2014). Solution-phase epitaxial growth of quasi-monocrystalline cuprous oxide on metal nanowires. Nano Lett., 14(10), 5891–5898. doi:10.1021/nl502831t