Open Access Nano Express

Cu-doped ZnO nanorod arrays: the effects of copper precursor and concentration

Musbah Babikier, Dunbo Wang, Jinzhong Wang*, Qian Li, Jianming Sun, Yuan Yan, Qingjiang Yu and Shujie Jiao

Author Affiliations

Department of Opto-Electric Information Science, School of Materials Science and Engineering, Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin 150001, China

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2014, 9:199  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-9-199

Published: 1 May 2014


Cu-doped ZnO nanorods have been grown at 90°C for 90 min onto a quartz substrate pre-coated with a ZnO seed layer using a hydrothermal method. The influence of copper (Cu) precursor and concentration on the structural, morphological, and optical properties of ZnO nanorods was investigated. X-ray diffraction analysis revealed that the nanorods grown are highly crystalline with a hexagonal wurtzite crystal structure grown along the c-axis. The lattice strain is found to be compressive for all samples, where a minimum compressive strain of −0.114% was obtained when 1 at.% Cu was added from Cu(NO3)2. Scanning electron microscopy was used to investigate morphologies and the diameters of the grown nanorods. The morphological properties of the Cu-doped ZnO nanorods were influenced significantly by the presence of Cu impurities. Near-band edge (NBE) and a broad blue-green emission bands at around 378 and 545 nm, respectively, were observed in the photoluminescence spectra for all samples. The transmittance characteristics showed a slight increase in the visible range, where the total transmittance increased from approximately 80% for the nanorods doped with Cu(CH3COO)2 to approximately 90% for the nanorods that were doped with Cu(NO3)2.

Zinc oxide; Nanostructures; Doping; Hydrothermal crystal growth; Photoluminescence