Successful solution

In a recent issue of Nanotechnology, researchers at the University of Connecticut, US, have reported a successful route to semiconductor nanowire alloying in solution. Using a densely packed array of ZnO nanowires as a localized reaction and interdiffusion template, magnesium-alloying into ZnO nanowire lattices was achieved during a 155 °C hydrothermal MgO deposition. The localized magnesium alloying process has been confirmed by an array of electron microscopies and spectroscopies.

Room temperature and low-temperature photoluminescence spectroscopy revealed enhanced and blue-shifted near-band-edge ultraviolet emissions in the grown MgO/ZnO composite nanowire arrays, compared with the ZnO nanowire arrays. This is due to the bandgap widening via successful semiconductor alloying of magnesium into the ZnO nanowires. These results proved that it is possible to rationally engineer the band structures of semiconductor nanostructures using a low-temperature solution route without having to use post-annealing treatments.

Currently the team is looking to further develop solution-based routes to broaden the semiconductor alloying range and enhance near-band edge emissions, striving towards energy efficient and cost-effective band structure engineering in semiconductor nanowires.