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Open Access Nano Express

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

Abstract

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.

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