Catalyst-free growth and tailoring morphology of zinc oxide nanostructures by plasma-enhanced deposition at low temperature

  • W. Z. Chen
  • B. B. Wang
  • Y. Z. Qu
  • X. Huang
  • K. Ostrikov
  • I. Levchenko
  • S. Xu
  • Q. J. Cheng
Research Paper


ZnO nanostructures were grown under different deposition conditions from Zn films pre-deposited onto Si substrates in O2-Ar plasma, ignited in an advanced custom-designed plasma-enhanced horizontal tube furnace deposition system. The morphology and structure of the synthesized ZnO nanostructures were systematically and extensively investigated by scanning and transmission electron microscopy, Raman spectroscopy, and atomic force microscopy. It is shown that the morphology of ZnO nanostructures changes from the hybrid ZnO/nanoparticle and nanorod system to the mixture of ZnO nanosheets and nanorods when the growth temperature increases, and the density of ZnO nanorods increases with the increase of oxygen flow rate. The formation of ZnO nanostructures was explained in terms of motion of Zn atoms on the Zn nanoparticle surfaces, and to the local melting of Zn nanoparticles or nanosheets. Moreover, the photoluminescence properties of ZnO nanostructures were studied, and it was revealed that the photoluminescence spectrum features two strong ultraviolet bands at about 378 and 399 nm and a series of weak blue bands within a range of 440–484 nm, related to the emissions of free excitons, near-band edge, and defects of ZnO nanostructures. The obtained results enrich our knowledge on the synthesis of ZnO-based nanostructures and contribute to the development of ZnO-based optoelectronic devices.


ZnO Nanostructures Plasma deposition Chemical vapor deposition 



I.L. acknowledges the support from the School of Chemistry, Physics and Mechanical Engineering, Science and Engineering Faculty, Queensland University of Technology.

Compliance with ethical standards


This study was funded by Fujian Provincial Department of Science and Technology (Grant No. 2015H0036), Program for New Century Excellent Talents in Fujian Province University (NCETFJ), and Scientific Research Foundation for the Returned Overseas Chinese Scholars, State Education Ministry, China.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. Z. Chen
    • 1
  • B. B. Wang
    • 2
  • Y. Z. Qu
    • 3
  • X. Huang
    • 3
  • K. Ostrikov
    • 4
    • 5
  • I. Levchenko
    • 6
    • 7
  • S. Xu
    • 6
  • Q. J. Cheng
    • 3
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Information Functional Material for Fujian Higher Education, College of Physics & Information EngineeringQuanzhou Normal UniversityQuanzhouPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.College of Chemical EngineeringChongqing University of TechnologyChongqingPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.College of Energy, Xiang’an CampusXiamen UniversityXiamenPeople’s Republic of China
  4. 4.School of Chemistry, Physics and Mechanical EngineeringQueensland University of TechnologyBrisbaneAustralia
  5. 5.CSIRO-QUT Joint Sustainable Processes and Devices LaboratoryCommonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research OrganizationLindfieldAustralia
  6. 6.Plasma Sources and Applications Centre, National Institute of EducationNanyang Technological UniversitySingaporeSingapore
  7. 7.School of Chemistry, Physics and Mechanical EngineeringQueensland University of TechnologyBrisbaneAustralia

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