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  • Original Paper: Sol-gel and hybrid materials for optical, photonic and optoelectronic applications
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Tunable visible emission in nanostructured thin films and bulk ZnO


This paper offers new insights into the physical phenomena in light emission from ZnO. The effect of the annealing atmosphere and temperature on defect-related emission in ZnO thin films prepared by the sol–gel method and nonpolar ZnO bulk substrates is investigated by photoluminescence spectroscopy, transmission electron microscopy, and DC electrical measurements. It is demonstrated that the post-annealing treatment is a powerful tool to modify intrinsic/extrinsic defects in ZnO and that the defect-related emission can be accurately tailored in a wide range from blue to red by changing the post-deposition processing parameters. Accurate tailoring of the deep-level emission wavelength in ZnO is of great importance in optoelectronics, particularly in white-light-emitting diodes, display devices, or biological labeling.

Graphical abstract


  • New insights into the physical phenomena in light emission from ZnO were introduced.

  • Defect related emission of ZnO was accurately tailored in a wide range from blue to red.

  • The formation of willemite and its effect on the optical properties was discussed.

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This work was supported by the Czech Science Foundation, Project No. 20-24366S.

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Authors and Affiliations



Conceptualization: RY and JG; writing original draft preparation: RY and JG; thin film preparation: NB and OC; optical characterization: RY; electrical characterization: ST; TEM characterization: SK and JV; visualization: RY and SK; project administration: RY; funding acquisition: RY and JG. All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Roman Yatskiv.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

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Yatskiv, R., Grym, J., Kučerová, Š. et al. Tunable visible emission in nanostructured thin films and bulk ZnO. J Sol-Gel Sci Technol 102, 447–453 (2022).

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  • Zinc oxide
  • Photoluminescence
  • Electrical properties
  • Annealing