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Synthesis and field emission properties of different ZnO nanostructure arrays

Yaoguo Fang12, Kin Mun Wong12 and Yong Lei12*

Author Affiliations

1 Institute of Materials Physics and Center for Nanotechnology, University of Muenster, Wilhelm-Klemm-Str. 10, Muenster 48149, Germany

2 Institut für Physik & IMN MacroNano® (ZIK), Technische Universität Ilmenau, Prof. Schmidt-Str. 26, Ilmenau 98693, Germany

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2012, 7:197  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-7-197

Published: 23 March 2012

Abstract

In this article, zinc oxide (ZnO) nanostructures of different shapes were fabricated on silicon substrate. Well-aligned and long ZnO nanowire (NW) arrays, as well as leaf-like ZnO nanostructures (which consist of modulated and single-phase structures), were fabricated by a chemical vapor deposition (CVD) method without the assistance of a catalyst. On the other hand, needle-like ZnO NW arrays were first fabricated with the CVD process followed by chemical etching of the NW arrays. The use of chemical etching provides a low-cost and convenient method of obtaining the needle-like arrays. In addition, the field emission properties of the different ZnO NW arrays were also investigated where some differences in the turn-on field and the field-enhancement factors were observed for the ZnO nanostructures of different lengths and shapes. It was experimentally observed that the leaf-like ZnO nanostructure is most suitable for field emission due to its lowest turn-on and threshold field as well as its high field-enhancement factor among the different synthesized nanostructures.

Keywords:
ZnO; Nanowires; Structure directing chemicals; Field emission properties