Semiconducting and piezoelectric oxide nanostructures induced by polar surfaces

Zhong Lin Wang, Xiang Yang Kong, Yong Ding, Puxian Gao, William L. Hughes, Rusen Yang, Yue Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

571 Scopus citations


Zinc oxide, an important semiconducting and piezoelectric material, has three key characteristics. First, it is a semiconductor, with a direct bandgap of 3.37 eV and a large excitation binding energy (60 meV), and exhibits near-UV emission and transparent conductivity. Secondly, due to its non-centrosymmetric symmetry, it is piezoelectric, which is a key phenomenon in building electro-mechanical coupled sensors and transducers. Finally, ZnO is bio-safe and bio-compatible, and can be used for biomedical applications without coating. With these unique advantages, ZnO is one of the most important nanomaterials for integration with microsystems and biotechnology. Structurally, due to the three types of fastest growth directions-〈0001〉, 〈011̄0〉, and 〈21̄1̄0〉-as well as the ±(0001) polar surfaces, a diverse group of ZnO nanostructures have been grown in our laboratory. These include nanocombs, nanosaws, nanosprings, nanorings, nanobows, and nanopropellers. This article reviews our recent progress in the synthesis and characterization of polar-surf ace-induced ZnO nanostructures, their growth mechanisms, and possible applications as sensors, transducers, and resonators. It is suggested that ZnO could be the next most important nanomaterial after carbon nanotubes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)943-956
Number of pages14
JournalAdvanced Functional Materials
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2004


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