Fundamental understanding of the growth, doping and characterization of aligned zno nanowires

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Zinc oxide (ZnO) is a II-VI semiconductor whose wide direct bandgap (3.37 eV) and large exciton binding energy (60 meV) make it compelling for optoelectronic devices such as light emitting diodes, lasers, photodetectors, solar cells, and mechanical energy harvesting devices. One dimensional structures of ZnO (nanowires) have become significant due to their unique physical properties arising from quantum confinement, and they are ideal for studying transport mechanisms in one-dimensional systems. In this doctoral research work, ZnO nanowire (NW) arrays were synthesized on sapphire substrates through carbo-thermal reduction of ZnO powders, and the effects of growth parameters on the properties of ZnO NW arrays were studied by scanning and transmission electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction, photoluminescence and Raman spectroscopy. Based on the phonon mode selection rules in wurtzite ZnO, confocal Raman spectroscopy was used to assess the alignment of ZnO NWs in an array, thereby complementing X-ray diffraction. Al doped ZnO NW arrays were achieved by mixing Al powder into the ZnO and graphite source mixture, and the presence of Al was confirmed by Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy. The incorporation of Al had the effects of lowering the electrical resistivity, slightly deteriorating crystal quality and suppressing defect related green emission. Two models of ZnO NW growth were developed by establishing the relationship between NW length and diameter for undoped and Al doped ZnO NWs separately. The growth of undoped ZnO NWs followed the diffusion-induced model which was characterized by thin wires being longer than thick wires, while the growth of Al doped ZnO was controlled by Gibbs-Thomson effect which was characterized by thin wires being shorter than thin wires. Local electrode atom probe analysis of ZnO NWs was carried out to study the crystal stoichiometry and Al incorporation. Undoped ZnO NWs were found to be high purity with no detectable impurities. Possible Al incorporation related peaks were observed in the mass spectrum of Al doped ZnO NWs. Further work on Al doped ZnO LEAP analysis is needed to better understand the Al dopant.

Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
Materials science