Enhanced photocatalytic activities of silicon nanowires/graphene oxide nanocomposite: Effect of etching parameters

Brahim Bessais , Mounir Gaidi , Kais Daoudi , Soumya Columbus , Anouar Hajjaji , My Ali El Khakani


Received May 07, 2020,Revised , Accepted August 11, 2020, Available online August 25, 2020

Volume 101,2021,Pages 123-134

Homogeneous and vertically aligned silicon nanowires (SiNWs) were successfully fabricated using silver assisted chemical etching technique. The prepared samples were characterized using scanning electron microscopy, transmission electron microscopy and atomic force microscopy. Photocatalytic degradation properties of graphene oxide (GO) modified SiNWs have been investigated. We found that the SiNWs morphology depends on etching time and etchant composition. The SiNWs length could be tuned from 1 to 42 µm, respectively when varying the etching time from 5 to 30 min. The etchant concentration was found to accelerate the etching process; doubling the concentrations increases the length of the SiNWs by a factor of two for fixed etching time. Changes in bundle morphology were also studied as function of etching parameters. The SiNWs diameter was found to be independent of etching time or etchant composition while the size of the SiNWs bundle increases with increasing etching time and etchant concentration. The addition of GO was found to improve significantly the photocatalytic activity of SiNWs. A strong correlation between etching parameters and photocatalysis efficiency has been observed, mainly for SiNWs prepared at optimum etching time and etchant concentrations of 10 min and 4:1:8. A degradation of 92% was obtained which further improved to 96% by addition of hydrogen peroxide. Only degradation efficiency of 16% and 31% has been observed for bare Si and GO/bare Si samples respectively. The obtained results demonstrate that the developed SiNWs/GO composite exhibits excellent photocatalytic performance and could be used as potential platform for the degradation of organic pollutants.

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