Evolution of structural and optical properties of ZnO nanorods grown on vacuum annealed seed crystallites

Waqar Khan, Fasihullah Khan, Hafiz Muhammad Salman Ajmal, Noor Ul Huda, Ji Hyun Kim, Sam Dong Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


In this study, the ambient condition for the as-coated seed layer (SL) annealing at 350 °C is varied from air or nitrogen to vacuum to examine the evolution of structural and optical properties of ZnO nanorods (NRs). The NR crystals of high surface density (~240 rods/μm²) and aspect ratio (~20.3) show greatly enhanced (002) degree of orientation and crystalline quality, when grown on the SLs annealed in vacuum, compared to those annealed in air or nitrogen ambient. This is due to the vacuum-annealed SL crystals of a highly preferred orientation toward (002) and large grain sizes. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy also reveals that the highest O/Zn atomic ratio of 0.89 is obtained in the case of vacuum-annealed SL crystals, which is due to the effective desorption of hydroxyl groups and other contaminants adsorbed on the surface formed during aqueous solution-based growth process. Near band edge emission (ultra violet range of 360-400 nm) of the vacuum-annealed SLs is also enhanced by 44% and 33% as compared to those annealed in air and nitrogen ambient, respectively, in photoluminescence with significant suppression of visible light emission associated with deep level transition. Due to this improvement of SL optical crystalline quality, the NR crystals grown on the vacuum-annealed SLs produce ~3 times higher ultra violet emission intensity than the other samples. In summary, it is shown that the ZnO NRs preferentially grow along the wurtzite c-axis direction, thereby producing the high crystalline quality of nanostructures when they grow on the vacuum-annealed SLs of high crystalline quality with minimized impurities and excellent preferred orientation. The ZnO nanostructures of high crystalline quality achieved in this study can be utilized for a wide range of potential device applications such as laser diodes, light-emitting diodes, piezoelectric transducers and generators, gas sensors, and ultraviolet detectors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number68
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jan 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Hydrothermal process
  • Photoluminescence
  • Surface defects
  • Vacuum annealing
  • ZnO nanorods


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