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Improving Morphological Quality and Uniformity of Hydrothermally Grown ZnO Nanowires by Surface Activation of Catalyst Layer

AuthorsMurillo, Gonzalo; Lozano, Helena; Cases-Utrera, Joana; Lee, Minbaek; Esteve, Jaume
KeywordsZnO nanowires
Gold catalyst layers
Hydrothermal growth
Cyclic voltammetry
Issue Date18-Jan-2017
CitationNanoscale Research Letters 12(1): 51 (2017)
AbstractThis paper presents a study about the dependence of the hydrothermal growth of ZnO nanowires (NWs) with the passivation level of the active surface of the Au catalyst layer. The hydrothermal method has many potential applications because of its low processing temperature, feasibility, and low cost. However, when a gold thin film is utilized as the seed material, the grown NWs often lack morphological homogeneity; their distribution is not uniform and the reproducibility of the growth is low. We hypothesize that the state or condition of the active surface of the Au catalyst layer has a critical effect on the uniformity of the NWs. Inspired by traditional electrochemistry experiments, in which Au electrodes are typically activated before the measurements, we demonstrate that such activation is a simple way to effectively assist and enhance NW growth. In addition, several cleaning processes are examined to find one that yields NWs with optimal quality, density, and vertical alignment. We find cyclic voltammetry measurements to be a reliable indicator of the seed-layer quality for subsequent NW growth. Therefore, we propose the use of this technique as a standard procedure prior to the hydrothermal synthesis of ZnO NWs to control the growth reproducibility and to allow high-yield wafer-level processing.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s11671-017-1838-x
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