A catalyst-free growth of aluminum-doped ZnO nanorods by thermal evaporation
1 Department of Physics, Faculty of Science, UTM, Skudai, Johor 81310, Malaysia
2 Ibnu Sina Institute, UTM, Skudai, Johor 81310, Malaysia
Nanoscale Research Letters 2014, 9:256 doi:10.1186/1556-276X-9-256Published: 23 May 2014
The growth of Al:ZnO nanorods on a silicon substrate using a low-temperature thermal evaporation method is reported. The samples were fabricated within a horizontal quartz tube under controlled supply of O2 gas where Zn and Al powders were previously mixed and heated at 700°C. This allows the reactant vapors to deposit onto the substrate placed vertically above the source materials. Both the undoped and doped samples were characterized using scanning electron microscopy (SEM), field emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM), energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX), high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM) and photoluminescence (PL) measurements. It was observed that randomly oriented nanowires were formed with varying nanostructures as the dopant concentrations were increased from 0.6 at.% to 11.3 at.% with the appearance of ‘pencil-like’ shape at 2.4 at.%, measuring between 260 to 350 nm and 720 nm in diameter and length, respectively. The HRTEM images revealed nanorods fringes of 0.46 nm wide, an equivalent to the lattice constant of ZnO and correspond to the (0001) fringes with regard to the growth direction. The as-prepared Al:ZnO samples exhibited a strong UV emission band located at approximately 389 nm (Eg = 3.19 eV) with multiple other low intensity peaks appeared at wavelengths greater than 400 nm contributed by oxygen vacancies. The results showed the importance of Al doping that played an important role on the morphology and optical properties of ZnO nanostructures. This may led to potential nanodevices in sensor and biological applications.