Piezoelectric Nanostructures of Zinc Oxide: Synthesis, Characterization and Devices
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In this thesis, a systematic study has been carried out on the synthesis, characterization and device fabrication of piezoelectric ZnO nanstructures. The achieved results are composed of the following four parts. Firstly, through a systematic investigation on the Sn-catalyzed ZnO nanostructure, an improved understanding of the chemical and physical process occurring during the growth of hierarchical nanostructures has been achieved. Decomposed Sn from SnO2 has been successfully demonstrated and proved to be an effective catalyst guiding the growth of not only aligned ZnO nanowires, but also the hierarchical nanowire-nanoribbon junction arrays and nanopropeller arrays. During the vapor-liquid-solid (VLS) catalyzing growth process at high temperature, Sn in the liquid state has been proved to be able to guide the growth of nanowires and nanoribbons in terms of growth directions, side facets, and crystallographic interfaces between Sn and ZnO nanostructures. Secondly, using pure ZnO as the only source material, by precisely tuning and controlling the growth kinetics, a variety of hierarchical polar surface dominated nanostructures have been achieved, such as single crystal nanorings, nanobows, nanosprings and superlattice nanohelices. High yield synthesis of ZnO nanosprings over 50% has been successfully obtained by mainly controlling the pre-pumping level associated with the partial pressure of residual oxygen during the vapor-solid growth process. The rigid superlattice nanohelices of ZnO have been discovered, which is a result of minimization of the electrostatic energy induced by polar surfaces. The formation process of the nanohelix has been systematically characterized. Thirdly, two new strategies have been successfully developed for fabricating ZnO quantum dots and synthesis of ZnO nanodiskettes and nanotubes. The formation process is based on a common concept of self-assembly. Finally, a series of devices and applications studies based on several piezoelectric ZnO nanostructures, such as nanobelts, nanopropellers and nanohelices, have been carried out utilizing the electro-mechanical resonance, bio-surface functionalization, devices fabrication and electrical characterization. Individual nanobelt and nanohelix based nanodevices have been successfully fabricated for applications in chemical and biological sensing. The study opens a few new areas in oxide nanostructures and applications.