Seed/catalyst-free growth of zinc oxide on graphene by thermal evaporation: effects of substrate inclination angles and graphene thicknesses

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Abstract

A seed/catalyst-free growth of ZnO on graphene by thermal evaporation of Zn in the presence of O2 gas was further studied. The effects of substrate positions and graphene thicknesses on the morphological, structural, and optical properties were found to be very pronounced. By setting the substrate to be inclined at 90°, the growth of ZnO nanostructures, namely, nanoclusters and nanorods, on single-layer (SL) graphene was successfully realized at temperatures of 600°C and 800°C, respectively. For the growth on multilayer (ML) graphene at 600°C with an inclination angle of 90°, the grown structures show extremely thick and continuous cluster structures as compared to the growth with substrate’s inclination angle of 45°. Moreover, the base of nanorod structures grown at 800°C with an inclination angle of 90° also become thicker as compared to 45°, even though their densities and aspect ratios were almost unchanged. Photoluminescence (PL) spectra of the grown ZnO structures were composed of the UV emission (378–386 nm) and the visible emission (517–550 nm), and the intensity ratio of the former emission (IUV) to the latter emission (IVIS) changed, depending on the temperature. The structures grown at a low temperature of 600°C show the highest value of IUV/IVIS of 16.2, which is almost two times higher than the structures grown on SL graphene, indicating fewer structural defects. The possible growth mechanism was proposed and described which considered both the nucleation and oxidation processes. From the results obtained, it can be concluded that temperature below 800°C, substrate position inclined at 90° towards the gas flow, and ML graphene seems to be preferable parameters for the growth of ZnO structures by thermal evaporation because these factors can be used to overcome the problem of graphene’s oxidation that takes place during the growth.

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Ahmad, N. F., Yasui, K., & Hashim, A. M. (2015). Seed/catalyst-free growth of zinc oxide on graphene by thermal evaporation: effects of substrate inclination angles and graphene thicknesses. Nanoscale Research Letters, 10(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s11671-014-0716-z

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