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Enhancement of intrinsic emission from ultrathin ZnO films using Si nanopillar template

Tun-Yuan Chiang12 and Ching-Liang Dai1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Mechanical Engineering, National Chung Hsing University, Taichung, 402, Taiwan

2 Department of Mechanical Engineering, National Chin-Yi University of Technology, Taichung, 411, Taiwan

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2012, 7:263  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-7-263

Published: 22 May 2012


Highly efficient room-temperature ultraviolet (UV) luminescence is obtained in heterostructures consisting of 10-nm-thick ultrathin ZnO films grown on Si nanopillars fabricated using self-assembled silver nanoislands as a natural metal nanomask during a subsequent dry etching process. Atomic layer deposition was applied for depositing the ZnO films on the Si nanopillars under an ambient temperature of 200°C. Based on measurements of photoluminescence (PL), an intensive UV emission corresponding to free-exciton recombination (approximately 3.31 eV) was observed with a nearly complete suppression of the defect-associated, broad-range visible emission peak. As compared to the ZnO/Si substrate, the almost five-times-of-magnitude enhancement in the intensity of PL, which peaked around 3.31 eV in the present ultrathin ZnO/Si nanopillars, is presumably attributed to the high surface/volume ratio inherent to the Si nanopillars. This allowed considerably more amount of ZnO material to be grown on the template and led to markedly more efficient intrinsic emission.

Ultrathin films; ZnO; Nanopillars; Atomic layer deposition; Photoluminescence