Effect of Material Structure on Photoluminescence of ZnO/MgO Core-Shell Nanowires
Zinc oxide (ZnO) nanowires are widely studied for use in ultraviolet optoelectronic devices, such as nanolasers and sensors. Nanowires (NWs) with an MgO shell exhibit enhanced band-edge photoluminescence (PL), a result previously attributed to passivation of ZnO defects. However, we find that processing the ZnO NWs under low oxygen partial pressure leads to an MgO-thickness-dependent PL enhancement owing to the formation of optical cavity modes. Conversely, processing under higher oxygen partial pressure leads to NWs that support neither mode formation nor band-edge PL enhancement. High-resolution electron microscopy and density-functional calculations implicate the ZnO m-plane surface morphology as the key determinant of core-shell structure and cavity-mode optics. A ZnO surface with atomic steps along the m-plane in the c-axis direction stimulates the growth of a smooth MgO shell that supports guided-wave optical modes and enhanced UV PL. On the other hand, a smoother ZnO surface leads to nucleation of a rough cladding layer which supports neither enhanced UV PL nor optical cavity modes. Finite-element analysis shows a clear correlation between allowed Fabry-Perot and whispering gallery modes and enhanced UV-PL. These results point the way to fabricating ZnO/MgO core-shell nanowires for more efficient UV nanolasers, scintillators, and sensors.
Marvinney, C., Shen, X., McBride, J., Critchlow, D., Li, Z., Mayo, D., Mu, R., & Pantelides, S. (2018). Effect of Material Structure on Photoluminescence of ZnO/MgO Core-Shell Nanowires. ChemNanoMat, 4 (3), 291-300. https://doi.org/10.1002/cnma.201700313