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Tuning of structural, optical, and magnetic properties of ultrathin and thin ZnO nanowire arrays for nano device applications

Satinder K Shrama12*, Neelam Saurakhiya2, Sumit Barthwal2, Rudra Kumar2 and Ashutosh Sharma2*

Author Affiliations

1 School of Computing and Electrical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Mandi, Mandi, Himanchal Pradesh 175001, India

2 DST Unit on Nanosciences, Department of Chemical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Kanpur, Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh 208016, India

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2014, 9:122  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-9-122

Published: 17 March 2014


One-dimensional (1-D) ultrathin (15 nm) and thin (100 nm) aligned 1-D (0001) and (<a onClick="popup('','MathML',630,470);return false;" target="_blank" href="">View MathML</a>) oriented zinc oxide (ZnO) nanowire (NW) arrays were fabricated on copper substrates by one-step electrochemical deposition inside the pores of polycarbonate membranes. The aspect ratio dependence of the compressive stress because of the lattice mismatch between NW array/substrate interface and crystallite size variations is investigated. X-ray diffraction results show that the polycrystalline ZnO NWs have a wurtzite structure with a = 3.24 Å, c = 5.20 Å, and [002] elongation. HRTEM and SAED pattern confirmed the polycrystalline nature of ultrathin ZnO NWs and lattice spacing of 0.58 nm. The crystallite size and compressive stress in as-grown 15- and 100-nm wires are 12.8 nm and 0.2248 GPa and 22.8 nm and 0.1359 GPa, which changed to 16.1 nm and 1.0307 GPa and 47.5 nm and 1.1677 GPa after annealing at 873 K in ultrahigh vacuum (UHV), respectively. Micro-Raman spectroscopy showed that the increase in E2 (high) phonon frequency corresponds to much higher compressive stresses in ultrathin NW arrays. The minimum-maximum magnetization magnitude for the as-grown ultrathin and thin NW arrays are approximately 8.45 × 10−3 to 8.10 × 10−3 emu/g and approximately 2.22 × 10−7 to 2.190 × 10−7 emu/g, respectively. The magnetization in 15-nm NW arrays is about 4 orders of magnitude higher than that in the 100 nm arrays but can be reduced greatly by the UHV annealing. The origin of ultrathin and thin NW array ferromagnetism may be the exchange interactions between localized electron spin moments resulting from oxygen vacancies at the surfaces of ZnO NWs. The n-type conductivity of 15-nm NW array is higher by about a factor of 2 compared to that of the 100-nm ZnO NWs, and both can be greatly enhanced by UHV annealing. The ability to tune the stresses and the structural and relative occupancies of ZnO NWs in a wide range by annealing has important implications for the design of advanced photonic, electronic, and magneto-optic nano devices.

Ultrathin and thin ZnO NW arrays; Electrochemical deposition; UHV thermal annealing; XRD; Crystallite size; Compressive stress; HRTEM; Micro-Raman; Hot probe; Vibrating sample magnetometer