Metal-oxide nanowires have demonstrated excellent capability in the electrical detection of various molecules based on their material robustness in liquid and air environments. Although the surface structure of the nanowires essentially determines their interaction with adsorbed molecules, understanding the correlation between an oxide nanowire surface and an adsorbed molecule is still a major challenge. Herein, we propose a rational methodology to obtain this information for low-density molecules adsorbed on metal oxide nanowire surfaces by employing infrared p-polarized multiple-angle incidence resolution spectroscopy and temperature-programmed desorption/gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. As a model system, we studied the surface chemical transformation of an aldehyde (nonanal, a cancer biomarker in breath) on single-crystalline ZnO nanowires. We found that a slight surface reconstruction, induced by the thermal pretreatment, determines the surface chemical reactivity of nonanal. The present results show that the observed surface reaction trend can be interpreted in terms of the density of Zn ions exposed on the nanowire surface and of their corresponding spatial arrangement on the surface, which promotes the reaction between neighboring adsorbed molecules. The proposed methodology will support a better understanding of complex molecular transformations on various nanostructured metal-oxide surfaces.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Mechanical Engineering