Enhanced ethanol sensing properties of ultrathin ZnO nanosheets decorated with CuO nanoparticles

Xiao Liu, Ye Sun*, Miao Yu, Yongqi Yin, Baosheng Du, Wei Tang, Tingting Jiang, Bin Yang, Wenwu Cao, Michael N.R. Ashfold

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

56 Citations (Scopus)
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Ultrathin two-dimensional ZnO nanosheets (NSs) with thicknesses of just a few nanometers have been fabricated by a solvothermal method. The very large surface area to volume ratio of this material translates into outstanding electrical sensing responses to ethanol (as high as S ∼ 97 to 200 ppm of ethanol at a working temperature of 320 °C). Decorating these ZnO NSs with CuO nanoparticles (NPs), by pulsed laser ablation of a CuO target at room temperature and then post-annealing at 400 °C, yields CuO-ZnO NSs that display a further up to 2-fold enhanced response to ethanol vapour, reduced sensor response and recovery times, high sensing repeatability and high selectivity. Mechanisms underpinning the enhanced sensing properties of the CuO-ZnO NSs are discussed in terms of CuO NP-induced p-n junction depletion regions and increases in the density of active sites for ethanol adsorption and for reaction with adsorbed oxygen species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3384-3390
Number of pages7
JournalSensors and Actuators, B: Chemical
Early online date1 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2018


  • Copper oxide
  • Gas sensing
  • Nanosheet
  • p-n junction
  • Zinc oxide


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