Mesoporous Semimetallic Conductors: Structural and Electronic Properties of Cobalt Phosphide Systems
Mesoporous cobalt phosphide (meso-CoP) was prepared by the phosphorization of ordered mesoporous cobalt oxide (meso-Co3O4). The electrical conductivity of meso-CoP is 37 times higher than that of nonporous CoP, and it displays semimetallic behavior with a negligibly small activation energy of 26 meV at temperatures below 296 K. Above this temperature, only materials with mesopores underwent a change in conductivity from semimetallic to semiconducting behavior. These properties were attributed to the coexistence of nanocrystalline Co2P phases. The poor crystallinity of mesoporous materials has often been considered to be a problem but this example clearly shows its positive aspects. The concept introduced here should thus lead to new routes for the synthesis of materials with high electronic conductivity.