Aqueous Solution Synthesis of ZnO for Application in Optoelectronics
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CitationJoo, John Hwajong. 2013. Aqueous Solution Synthesis of ZnO for Application in Optoelectronics. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University.
AbstractRecently, ZnO has garnered widespread attention in the semiconductor community for its large set of useful properties, which include a wide bandgap and its resulting optical transparency, a large exciton binding energy, a significant piezoelectric response, and good electrical conductivity. In many ways, it shares many properties with a widely used and technologically important semiconductor GaN, which is widely used for blue LEDs and lasers. However, ZnO cannot substitute for GaN in most optoelectronic applications, because it cannot be doped p-type. On the other hand, unlike many traditional, covalently bonded semiconductors like GaN, ZnO can be easily formed aqueous solutions at close to room temperature and pressure in the form of large crystals or a variety of nanostructures, making possible applications that are normally very difficult with traditional semiconductors. In this light, we aimed to take advantage of aqueous solution-based, ZnO growth techniques and incorporated ZnO structures novel optoelectronic and photonic structures. By controlling the morphology of ZnO, we studied the effects of nanowire-based \(ZnO/Cu_2O\) solar cells. Carrier collection was increased using a nanowire-based device architecture. The main result, however, was the time evolution of the performance of these devices due to the movement of ionized defects in the material. The effects of geometry on the ageing characteristics were studied, which showed that the carrier collection could be increased further with ageing in a nanowire \(Cu_2O\) solar cell. The aging behavior was substantially different between nanowire and planar solar cells, which implies that future design of nanostructured solar cells must long term aging effects. In addition to solar cells, we explored the possibilities of using aqueous solution growth of ZnO to fabricated whispering gallery mode optical cavities and waveguides for enhancing extraction from a single photon source. In both applications, we used templated growth of ZnO to fabricate geometrically (near) perfect rods and disks for these photonics applications. Finally, since epitaxy is important in the process of optimizing device performance and fabrication, we showed the ability to grow ZnO epitaxially on single crystalline plates of Au, expanding the options of epitaxial substrates to include a metal.
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