Plasma versus thermal annealing for the Au-catalyst growth of ZnO nanocones and nanowires on Al-doped ZnO buffer layers

Frank Güell, Paulina R. Martínez-Alanis, Sergio Roso, Carlos I. Salas-Pérez, Mario F. García-Sánchez, Guillermo Santana, B. Marel Monroy

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Abstract

© 2016 IOP Publishing Ltd. Wesuccessfully synthesized ZnO nanocones and nanowires over polycrystalline Al-doped ZnO (AZO) buffer layers on fused silica substrates by a vapor-transport process using Au-catalyst thin films. Different Au film thicknesses were thermal or plasma annealed in order to analyze their influence on the ZnO nanostructure growth morphology. Striking differences have been observed. Thermal annealing generates a distribution of Au nanoclusters and plasma annealing induces a fragmentation of the Au thin films. While ZnO nanowires are found in the thermal-annealed samples, ZnO nanocones and nanowires have been obtained on the plasma-annealed samples. Enhancement of the preferred c-axis (0001) growth orientation was demonstrated by x-ray diffraction when the ZnO nanocones and nanowires have been grown over theAZO buffer layer. The transmittance spectra of the ZnO nanocones and nanowires show a gradual increase from 375 to 900 nm, and photoluminescence characterization pointed out high concentration of defects leading to observation of a broad emission band in the visible range from 420 to 800 nm. The maximum emission intensity peak position of the broad visible band is related to the thickness of the Au-catalyst for the thermalannealed samples and to the plasma power for the plasma-annealed samples. Finally, we proposed a model for the plasma versus thermal annealing of the Au-catalyst for the growth of theZnOnanocones and nanowires. These results are promising for renewable energy applications, in particular for its potential application in solar cells.
Original languageAmerican English
JournalMaterials Research Express
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2016

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