Photocurrent detection of chemically tuned hierarchical ZnO nanostructures grown on seed layers formed by atomic layer deposition
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Nanoscale Research Letters 2012, 7:290 doi:10.1186/1556-276X-7-290Published: 6 June 2012
We demonstrate the morphological control method of ZnO nanostructures by atomic layer deposition (ALD) on an Al2O3/ZnO seed layer surface and the application of a hierarchical ZnO nanostructure for a photodetector. Two layers of ZnO and Al2O3 prepared using ALD with different pH values in solution coexisted on the alloy film surface, leading to deactivation of the surface hydroxyl groups. This surface complex decreased the ZnO nucleation on the seed layer surface, and thereby effectively screened the inherent surface polarity of ZnO. As a result, a 2-D zinc hydroxyl compound nanosheet was produced. With increasing ALD cycles of ZnO in the seed layer, the nanostructure morphology changes from 2-D nanosheet to 1-D nanorod due to the recovery of the natural crystallinity and polarity of ZnO. The thin ALD ZnO seed layer conformally covers the complex nanosheet structure to produce a nanorod, then a 3-D, hierarchical ZnO nanostructure was synthesized using a combined hydrothermal and ALD method. During the deposition of the ALD ZnO seed layer, the zinc hydroxyl compound nanosheets underwent a self-annealing process at 150 °C, resulting in structural transformation to pure ZnO 3-D nanosheets without collapse of the intrinsic morphology. The investigation on band electronic properties of ZnO 2-D nanosheet and 3-D hierarchical structure revealed noticeable variations depending on the richness of Zn-OH in each morphology. The improved visible and ultraviolet photocurrent characteristics of a photodetector with the active region using 3-D hierarchical structure against those of 2-D nanosheet structure were achieved.