Highly efficient excitonic emission of CBD grown ZnO micropods
Proc. SPIE, Nanophotonic Materials XII.
Due to its wide direct band gap and large exciton binding energy allowing for efficient excitonic emission at room temperature, ZnO has attracted attention as a luminescent material in various applications such as UV-light emitting diodes, chemical sensors and solar cells. While low-cost growth techniques, such as chemical bath deposition (CBD), of ZnO thin films and nanostructures have been already reported; nevertheless, ZnO thin films and nanostructures grown by costly techniques, such as metalorganic vapour phase epitaxy, still present the most interesting properties in terms of crystallinity and internal quantum efficiency. In this work, we report on highly efficient and highly crystalline ZnO micropods grown by CBD at a low temperature (<90 degrees C). XRD and low-temperature photoluminescence (PL) investigations on as-grown ZnO micropods revealed a highly crystalline ZnO structure and a strong UV excitonic emission with internal quantum efficiency (IQE) of 10% at room temperature. Thermal annealing at 900 degrees C of the as-grown ZnO micropods leads to further enhancement in their structural and optical properties. Low-temperature PL measurements on annealed ZnO micropods showed the presence of phonon replicas, which was not the case for as-grown samples. The appearance of phonon replicas provides a strong proof of the improved crystal quality of annealed ZnO micropods. Most importantly, low-temperature PL reveals an improved IQE of 15% in the excitonic emission of ZnO micropods. The ZnO micropods IQE reported here are comparable to IQEs reported on ZnO structures obtained by costly and more complex growth techniques. These results are of great interest demonstrating that high quality ZnO microstructures can be obtained at low temperatures using a low-cost CBD growth technique.