We have studied the aqueous solution synthesis of divalent tin oxide (SnO) nanostructures, changes in their optical absorption behavior, and their photoelectrochemical properties. A number of SnO nanostructures including sheets and wires, and their composite morphologies were obtained in aqueous solution containing urea at low temperatures. Parallel control of both oxidation state and morphology was achieved through the urea-mediated solution process. Nanoscale morphological variation facilitated changes in optical absorption behavior and the generation of a photocurrent. As for the nanostructured SnO, the absorption of visible light decreased and absorption in UV region increased. In contrast, bulk black SnO crystals showed strong absorption over the entire range of UV to visible light. A photocurrent was generated from the SnO nanostructures with irradiation of UV and visible light.
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