ZnO and CuO Nanostructures: Low Temperature Growth, Characterization, their Optoelectronic and Sensing Applications

Abstract: One dimensional (1-D), zinc oxide (ZnO) and copper (II) oxide (CuO), nanostructures have great potential for applications in the fields of optoelectronic and sensor devices. Research on nanostructures is a fascinating field that has evolved during the last few years especially after the utilization of the hydrothermal growth method. Using this method variety of nanostructures can be grown from solutions, it is a cheap, easy, and environment friendly approach. These nanostructures can be synthesized on various conventional and nonconventional substrates such as silicon, plastic, fabrics and paper etc.The primary purpose of the work presented in this thesis is to realize controllable growth of ZnO, CuO and nanohybrid ZnO/CuO nanostructures and to process and develop white light emitting diodes and sensor devices from the corresponding nanostructures.The first part of the thesis deals with ZnO nanostructures grown under different hydrothermal conditions in order to gain a better understanding of the growth. Possible parameters affecting the growth such as the pH, the growth temperature, the growth time, and the precursors  concentration which can alter the morphology of the nanostructures were investigated (paper 1). Utilizing the advantage of the low temperature for growth we synthesized ZnO nanostructures on different substrates, specifically on flexible substrates, which are likely to be integrated with flexible organic substrates for future foldable and disposable electronics (paper 2, 3).In the second part of the thesis, using the results and findings from the growth of ZnO nanostructures, it was possible to successfully implement ZnO nanostructures for white light emitting diodes (LEDs) on different flexible substrates (paper 4, 5).In paper 4 we realized a ZnO/polymer LED grown on a paper substrate. In paper 5 we extended the idea to print the ZnO nanorods/polymer hybrid LEDs with potential application to large area flexible displays.In the last part of the thesis, CuO and nanohybrid ZnO/CuO nanostructures were utilized to fabricate Ag+ detection and humidity sensors. In paper 6 we reported Ag+ selective electrochemical sensor based on the use of functionalized CuO nanopetals. To combine the advantages of both oxides nanostructures and to improve the performance we fabricated a pn-heterojuction using intrinsic n-ZnO nanorods and p-CuO nanostructures which were then utilized as an efficient humidity sensor (paper 7).