, Volume 48, Issue 2, pp 612-624
Date: 09 Nov 2012

Zinc oxide nanostructures: from growth to application

Abstract

Zinc oxide’s (ZnO) physical and chemical properties make it a viable and extremely attractive compound to use in a variety of nanotechnology applications. Some of these applications include biomedical, energy, sensors, and optics. As the research in ZnO nanostructures continue to grow, it has inspired a whole host of new innovative applications. Complementing its unique chemical qualities, it also has a simple crystal-growth technology and offers significantly lower fabrication costs when compared to other semiconductors used in nanotechnology. Several processes have been developed in order to synthesize high quality ZnO nanostructures—specifically in the case of nanowires. Here we offer a comprehensive review on the growth methods currently employed in research, industry, and academia to understand what protocols are available to meet specific needs in nanotechnology. Methods examined include: the vapor–liquid–solid, physical vapor deposition, chemical vapor deposition, metal–organic chemical vapor deposition, and the hydrothermal-based chemical approach. Each of these methods is discussed and their strengths and weaknesses are analyzed with objective comparison metrics. In addition, we study the current state-of-the-art applications employing ZnO nanostructures at their core. A historical perspective on the evolution of the field and the accompanying literature are also presented.