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Advantageous mechanochemical synthesis of copper(I) selenide semiconductor, characterization, and properties


Copper(I) selenide-nanocrystalline semiconductor was synthesized via one-step mechanochemical synthesis after 5 min milling in a planetary ball mill. The kinetics of synthesis was followed by X-ray powder diffraction analysis and specific surface area measurements of milled 2Cu/Se mixtures. The X-ray diffraction confirmed the orthorhombic crystal structure of Cu2Se with the crystallite size ∼25 nm. The surface chemical structure was studied by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, whereby the binding energy of the Cu 2p and Se 3d signals corresponded to Cu+ and Se2− oxidation states. Transmission electron microscopy revealed agglomerated nanocrystals and confirmed their orthorhombic structure, as well. The optical properties were studied utilizing ultraviolet-visible spectroscopy and photoluminescence spectroscopy. The direct bandgap energy 3.7 eV indicated a blue-shift phenomenon due to the quantum size effect. This type of Cu2Se synthesis can be easily adapted to production dimensions using an industrial vibratory mill. The advantages of mechanochemical synthesis represent the potential for inexpensive, environmentally-friendly, and waste-free manufacturing of Cu2Se.

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This work was realized within the frame of the project “Research Centre of Advanced Materials and Technologies for Recent and Future Applications PROMATECH”, ITMS 26220220186, supported by the Operational Program “Research and Development” financed through European Regional Development Fund, Slovak Research and Development Agency under the contract No. APVV-18-0357, and by the Slovak Grant Agency VEGA (projects 02/0065/18, 02/0103/20). We would like to thank Professor J. Briančin for SEM observations, and the native speaker Mrs. Ch. Dejanakul-Wolfe for the formal text revision.

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Correspondence to Marcela Achimovičová.

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Gáborová, K., Achimovičová, M., Hegedüs, M. et al. Advantageous mechanochemical synthesis of copper(I) selenide semiconductor, characterization, and properties. Front. Chem. Sci. Eng. (2021).

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  • Cu2Se
  • berzelianite
  • nanocrystalline semiconductor
  • mechanochemical synthesis
  • planetary ball mill