Zinc oxide nanoparticle growth from homogenous solution: Influence of Zn:OH, water concentration, and surfactant additives

Anthony Ratkovich, R. Lee Penn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Zinc oxide particle growth from homogeneous solution was monitored using in situ UV-vis spectroscopy. Final particle size and overall growth rate increased with increasing zinc to hydroxide concentration ratio and were both sensitive to the surfactant added. Particle growth was fit using two models: (1) the classic coarsening model and (2) the simultaneous coarsening and oriented aggregation model. Results demonstrate that using adamantane carboxylic acid as a surfactant additive inhibits ZnO nanoparticle growth both by coarsening and oriented aggregation as compared to using other monocarboxylates (e.g., acetate and tribromoacetate). In addition, ZnO nanoparticle growth was independent of water concentration within the range of 40-100 mM for the conditions studied here (1 mM zinc perchlorate, 1.6 mM hydroxide, and 0.38 mM adamantane carboxylic acid). High-resolution transmission electron micrographs confirm inhibited growth by oriented aggregation for ZnO grown with adamantane carboxylic acid. Results are compared to previous work and generally show that ZnO growth by coarsening and oriented aggregation can be selectively inhibited or promoted by judicious selection of the surfactant additive.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)993-998
Number of pages6
JournalMaterials Research Bulletin
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 6 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We acknowledge the University of Minnesota and the National Science Foundation (Career-036385 to RLP and MRI EAR-0320641 for the purchase of TEMs) for funding. Parts of this work were carried out in the University of Minnesota I.T. Characterization Facility, which receives partial support from NSF through the NNIN program.


  • A. Nanostructures
  • A. Oxides
  • A. Semiconductors
  • B. Chemical synthesis
  • B. Crystal growth


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