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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Giant defect emission enhancement from ZnO nanowires through desulfurization process.


Zinc oxide (ZnO) is a stable, direct bandgap semiconductor emitting in the UV with a multitude of technical applications. It is well known that ZnO emission can be shifted into the green for visible light applications through the introduction of defects. However, generating consistent and efficient green emission through this process is challenging, particularly given that the chemical or atomic origin of the green emission in ZnO is still under debate. In this work we present a new method, for which we coin term desulfurization, for creating green emitting ZnO with significantly enhanced quantum efficiency. Solution grown ZnO nanowires are partially converted to ZnS, then desulfurized back to ZnO, resulting in a highly controlled concentration of oxygen defects as determined by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and electron paramagnetic resonance. Using this controlled placement of oxygen vacancies we observe a greater than 40-fold enhancement of integrated emission intensity and explore the nature of this enhancement through low temperature photoluminescence experiments.

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