Optical properties of copper oxide thin films as selective sensing principle for hydrogen sulfide detection
Semiconducting cuprous (Cu2O) and cupric oxide (CuO) have been subject to intense research efforts, mainly because of the materials' potential for photovoltaic applications and as doping material. In this work, the impact of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) exposure on thin film samples of CuO and Cu2O has been investigated, focusing on alterations in the optical properties. The materials composition was verified using Raman spectroscopy. The samples were exposed to welldefined dosages of H2S and the transmission and reflection characteristics in the expanded UV/Vis regime (350- 1100 nm) were recorded. Cu2O films showed an explicit increase in transmissivity for the wavelength region l = 550- 900 nm, besides a general decrease in reflectivity of all samples within the considered spectral range. Optical band gaps were determined using Tauc's plotting, revealing a shift in the slope of a2 of CuO after gas exposure. The observed effects can be exploited as sensing effect, which was examined in a thin film total-internal-reflection (TIR) set-up to transiently monitor surface-gas interactions, yielding reproducible changes in response to 20 min exposure to5 ppm H2S.