A team led by Robert Snyder at Georgia Tech has demonstrated a simple but practically very useful technique for controlling the texturing of the ZnO film by controlling laser fluence in a pulsed laser deposition system at room temperature. The team is composed of Jung-il Hong, Joon Ho Bae and Z.L. Wang from the School of Materials Science and Engineering.

By ablating the target material, ZnO, with a laser beam of controlled fluence, the energy of the atoms deposited onto the substrate is adjusted to form a film with a desired crystallographic texture. The team has also demonstrated the use of this textured film as a seed layer to grow the arrays of nanowires that grew in epitaxy with the film. As the film can be deposited on various substrates, the work is expected to expand the application of textured films and aligned nanowires.

ZnO was tested for the current work, but the research team expects to explore the possible extension of the concept to other materials as well. This technique sets the foundation for preparing high-quality textured ZnO films on a general substrate including polymers for growing orientation aligned ZnO nanowire arrays, which have important applications in optoelectronics, electronics, field emission, sensors and energy science.