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Structural and photoluminescence studies on catalytic growth of silicon/zinc oxide heterostructure nanowires

Su Kong Chong1*, Chang Fu Dee2 and Saadah Abdul Rahman1

Author Affiliations

1 Low Dimensional Materials Research Centre, Department of Physics, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur 50603, Malaysia

2 Institute of Microengineering and Nanoelectronics (IMEN), Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), Bangi, Selangor 43600, Malaysia

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2013, 8:174  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-8-174

Published: 17 April 2013


Silicon/zinc oxide (Si/ZnO) core-shell nanowires (NWs) were prepared on a p-type Si(111) substrate using a two-step growth process. First, indium seed-coated Si NWs (In/Si NWs) were synthesized using a plasma-assisted hot-wire chemical vapor deposition technique. This was then followed by the growth of a ZnO nanostructure shell layer using a vapor transport and condensation method. By varying the ZnO growth time from 0.5 to 2 h, different morphologies of ZnO nanostructures, such as ZnO nanoparticles, ZnO shell layer, and ZnO nanorods were grown on the In/Si NWs. The In seeds were believed to act as centers to attract the ZnO molecule vapors, further inducing the lateral growth of ZnO nanorods from the Si/ZnO core-shell NWs via a vapor-liquid-solid mechanism. The ZnO nanorods had a tendency to grow in the direction of [0001] as indicated by X-ray diffraction and high resolution transmission electron microscopy analyses. We showed that the Si/ZnO core-shell NWs exhibit a broad visible emission ranging from 400 to 750 nm due to the combination of emissions from oxygen vacancies in ZnO and In2O3 structures and nanocrystallite Si on the Si NWs. The hierarchical growth of straight ZnO nanorods on the core-shell NWs eventually reduced the defect (green) emission and enhanced the near band edge (ultraviolet) emission of the ZnO.

Silicon; Zinc oxide; Core-shell; Hierarchical; Nanowires; Photoluminescence