Surface Functionalization of Grown-on-Tip ZnO Nanopyramids: From Fabrication to Light-Triggered Applications

Alberto Gasparotto, Chiara Maccato, Giorgio Carraro, Cinzia Sada, Urska Lavrencic Stangar, Bruno Alessi, Conor Rocks, Davide Mariotti, Andrea La Porta, Thomas Altantzis, Davide Barreca

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
35 Downloads (Pure)


We report on a combined chemical vapor deposition (CVD)/radio frequency (RF) sputtering synthetic strategy for the controlled surface modification of ZnO nanostructures by Ti-containing species. Specifically, the proposed approach consists in the CVD of grown-on-tip ZnO nanopyramids, followed by titanium RF sputtering under mild conditions. The results obtained by a thorough characterization demonstrate the successful ZnO surface functionalization with dispersed Ti-containing species in low amounts. This phenomenon, in turn, yields a remarkable enhancement of photoactivated superhydrophilic behavior, self-cleaning ability, and photocatalytic performances in comparison to bare ZnO. The reasons accounting for such an improvement are unravelled by a multitechnique analysis, elucidating the interplay between material chemico-physical properties and the corresponding functional behavior. Overall, the proposed strategy stands as an amenable tool for the mastering of semiconductor-based functional nanoarchitectures through ad hoc engineering of the system surface.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15881-15890
Number of pages10
JournalACS Applied Materials & Interfaces
Issue number17
Early online date18 Apr 2019
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 May 2019


  • ZnO-based nanomaterials
  • photocatalysis
  • photoinduced superhydrophilicity
  • self-cleaning
  • surface engineering


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