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Optoelectronics Devices Based on Zinc Oxide Thin Films and Nanostructures


Optoelectronics devices based on ZnO thin films and nanostructures are discussed in this dissertation. A ZnO homojunction LED was demonstrated. Sb-doped p-type ZnO and Ga-doped n-type ZnO on Si (100) substrate were used for the LED device. After achieving ohmic contacts on both types of ZnO, the device showed rectifying current-voltage (I-V) characteristics. Under forward bias, the device successfully showed ultraviolet emissions. The emission properties were analyzed and the emission was confirmed to come from ZnO near band edge emissions. Further analysis showed that the emission mainly comes from the p-type layer of the device. A ZnO ultraviolet laser diode was fabricated and demonstrated. The device consists of Sb-doped p-type ZnO layer and Ga-doped n-type ZnO layer. In between p-layer and n-layer, a thin MgZnO/ZnO/MgZnO quantum well structure was inserted. In this device, random lasing mechanism plays an important role. When the diode was biased, the generation of light was enhanced by the carrier localization effect from the quantum well. The light was scattered between the ZnO random grain boundaries. Since the scattering effect can be so intense that some of the light can return to its original place to form close travel loop, as "random laser cavity". As long as the gain can overcome loss from scattering and material loss, lasing action can be demonstrated. An improved ZnO LED device was grown and characterized. The device grown on c-plane sapphire substrate can favor ultimate device applications due to the improved crystal quality of ZnO and the possibility of getting single crystallinity. A double heterostructure (MgZnO/ZnO/MgZnO) was also inserted in between p-layer and n-layer of the device to enhance the light output. The device showed much enhanced output power of 457 nW, which is two orders stronger than the LED fabricated on Si substrate. The optimization of high quality ZnO thin film on c-plane sapphire substrate was discussed. The devices in chapter two, three and four utilized Si or sapphire substrate, and are all in polycrystalline nature. To solve this problem and get the basis of high output power LEDs and lasers, single crystalline, two dimensional surface ZnO thin films were grown in chapter five. MgO/ZnO double buffer layers were used to accommodate the lattice mismatch. MgO thickness was found to be very important in achieving good ZnO thin film. An optimized growth also yields low background electron concentration and high mobility, which can enable future high quality p-type ZnO engineering. Our research was also expanded from ZnO thin films to ZnO nanostructures. The purpose of chapter six is to demonstrate a ZnO nanowire laser. ZnO nanowires are an excellent cavity and itself is a great gain material. We expanded Sb-doped p-type ZnO from thin films to ZnO nanowires. A p-type ZnO nanowire/n-type ZnO thin film p-n junction was achieved. The device showed lasing action when injection current was larger than ~50 mA. The lasing mechanism and gain/feedback were also discussed in detail.

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