Crystal Structure, Chemical Binding, and Lattice Properties

  • J. Geurts
Part of the Springer Series in Materials Science book series (SSMATERIALS, volume 120)


This chapter starts with an overview of the ZnO crystal structure and its conjunction to the chemical binding. ZnO commonly occurs in the wurtzite structure. This fact is closely related to its tetrahedral bond symmetry and its prominent bond polarity. The main part of the first section deals with the ZnO wurtzite crystal lattice, its symmetry properties, and its geometrical parameters. Besides wurtzite ZnO, the other polytypes, zinc-blende and rocksalt ZnO are also briefly discussed. Subsequently, lattice constant variations and crystal lattice deformations are treated. This discussion starts with static lattice constant variations, induced by temperature or by pressure, as well as strain-induced static lattice deformation, which reduces the crystal symmetry. The impact of this symmetry reduction on the electrical polarization is the piezo effect, which is very much pronounced in ZnO and is exploited in many applications. See also Chap. 13. Dynamic lattice deformations manifest themselves as phonons and, in case of doping, as phonon–plasmon mixed states. The section devoted to phonons starts with a consideration of the vibration eigenmodes and their dispersion curves. Special attention is paid to the investigation of phonons by optical spectroscopy. The methods applied for this purpose are infrared spectroscopy and, more often, Raman spectroscopy. The latter method is very common for the structural quality assessment of ZnO bulk crystals and layers; it is also frequently used for the study of the incorporation of dopant and alloying atoms in the ZnO crystal lattice. Thus, it plays an important role with regard to possible optoelectronics and spintronics applications of ZnO. The final section of this chapter focuses on phonon–plasmon mixed states. These eigenstates occur in doped ZnO due to the strong coupling between collective free-carrier oscillations and lattice vibrations, which occurs due to the high bond polarity. Owing to the direct correlation of the plasmon–phonon modes to the electronic doping, they are an inherent property of ZnO samples, when applied in (opto-) electronics and spintronics. See also Chap. 12.


Surface Acoustic Wave Optical Phonon Phonon Mode Wurtzite Structure Chemical Binding 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Physikalisches Institut der Universität WürzburgWürzburgGermany

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