Orange/red photoluminescence enhancement upon sf6 plasma treatment of vertically aligned zno nanorods

Amine Achour, Mohammad Islam, Sorin Vizireanu, Iftikhar Ahmad, Muhammad Aftab Akram, Khalid Saeed, Gheorghe Dinescu, Jean Jacques Pireaux

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    Although the origin and possible mechanisms for green and yellow emission from different zinc oxide (ZnO) forms have been extensively investigated, the same for red/orange PL emission from ZnO nanorods (nR) remains largely unaddressed. In this work, vertically aligned zinc oxide nanorods arrays (ZnO nR) were produced using hydrothermal process followed by plasma treatment in argon/sulfur hexafluoride (Ar/SF6) gas mixture for different time. The annealed samples were highly crystalline with ~45 nm crystallite size, (002) preferred orientation, and a relatively low strain value of 1.45 × 10-3, as determined from X-ray diffraction pattern. As compared to as-deposited ZnO nR, the plasma treatment under certain conditions demonstrated enhancement in the room temperature photoluminescence (PL) emission intensity, in the visible orange/red spectral regime, by a factor of 2. The PL intensity enhancement induced by SF6 plasma treatment may be attributed to surface chemistry modification as confirmed by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) studies. Several factors including presence of hydroxyl group on the ZnO surface, increased oxygen level in the ZnO lattice (OL), generation of F-OH and F-Zn bonds and passivation of surface states and bulk defects are considered to be active towards red/orange emission in the PL spectrum. The PL spectra were deconvoluted into component Gaussian sub-peaks representing transitions from conduction-band minimum (CBM) to oxygen interstitials (Oi) and CBM to oxygen vacancies (VO) with corresponding photon energies of 2.21 and 1.90 eV, respectively. The optimum plasma treatment route for ZnO nanostructures with resulting enhancement in the PL emission offers strong potential for photonic applications such as visible wavelength phosphors.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number794
    Number of pages15
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - May 2019


    • Photoluminescence
    • Red emission
    • SF6 plasma
    • Visible emission
    • ZnO nanorods


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