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Cuprous Oxide as a Semiconductor Material

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Si and GaN are major players in semiconductor materials. One material that keeps coming up in research is cuprous oxide. Cuprous oxide is one of the first materials discovered to have semiconducting properties.
 
What is Cuprous Oxide? 
Cuprous oxide is a semiconductor with a band gap ranging from 2.0 to 2.2eV and has photovoltaic characteristics. As a p-type oxide of copper with chemical formula Cu2O, it can exist in the form of thin films or nanoparticles and is very useful for basic research due to its low cost and new physical properties. 
Over the past few decades, researchers have identified a variety of ways to synthesize cuprous oxide. Some of the techniques found were: 
Thermal oxidation 
Chemical vapor deposition 
Anodic oxidation 
Reactive sputtering 
electrodeposition 
Plasma evaporation 
Sol-gel dip coating technology 
Even after extensive research, a significant barrier to the use of these methods is the generation of mixed phases of Cu, CuO and Cu2O, resulting in few applications for cuprous oxide as a semiconductor.
 
Cuprous Oxide Electronic Properties 
Research on cuprous oxide has been ongoing to understand its electronic properties and potential as a semiconductor material. 
A research team reports that when it is doped with 12.5% zinc, its optical properties are improved and can be used in photocatalytic and sensor devices. According to another group, the band gap was reduced from 1.96eV to 1.91eV when it was mixed with F element at a concentration of 0.34%.
However, its photovoltage and photocurrent density are increased to 0.4457V and 2.79mA/cm2, respectively.
 
Cuprous Oxide Application 
Major applications of cuprous oxide in electronics include supercapacitors, lithium ion batteries, photocatalysis, solar energy conversion and sensing applications. 
 
Electrodes for supercapacitors and lithium-ion batteries: 
Cuprous oxide is suitable as an anode material for lithium-ion batteries because of its controllable structure, polymorphic form, and high cycling capacity. 
 
Photocatalysis and solar energy conversion: 
Due to the abundance of copper and oxygen in nature, appropriate visible light absorption band gaps, and relatively easy and inexpensive manufacturing, cuprous oxide is suitable for large-scale solar conversion.
 
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