Investigation of long-term chemical stability of structured ZnO films in aqueous solutions of varying conditions

Saara Heinonen, Jukka-Pekka Nikkanen, Elina Huttunen-Saarivirta, Erkki Levänen

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    23 Citations (Scopus)


    Nanostructured zinc oxide, ZnO, films feature attractive functional properties, but their long-term stability needs further investigation. Here, ZnO thin films with well-aligned rod-like structure were grown on stainless steel substrate. The long-term chemical stability of the ZnO films was investigated in solutions with varying pH values (3 - 11) to enhance knowledge about the durability of films in acidic and basic environments. The solubility and stability of the films in the solutions were investigated using atomic absorption spectrophotometry, scanning electron microscopy imaging and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy analyses, as well as by monitoring changes in water contact angle of the films and in the pH values of the solutions. The ZnO film was found to be most stable at highest pH value, with the amount of dissolved zinc being lowest among the studied pH values and the changes observed with other characterization methods being minor compared to the samples immersed to other solutions. At the lowest pH, the film was removed rapidly from the substrate by dissolution. In solutions featuring pH values 5 and 9, the measured pH was unstable and changed constantly until it reached the value 7.2-7.6, i.e., until the equilibrium of different chemical species in the solution was achieved. These results are presented and discussed in this paper from the viewpoint of applicability of the ZnO films.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)410-419
    JournalThin Solid Films
    Issue numberSeptember
    Publication statusPublished - 30 Sept 2017
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • chemical stability
    • hydrothermal synthesis
    • pH
    • solubility
    • thin film
    • zinc oxide


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