Scheme: University Research Fellowship
Organisation: Swansea University
Dates: Oct 2010-Sep 2013
Summary: The ultimate aim of nanotechnology is to build machines and devices with a size of only a few nanometres (a billionth of a metre). Nanoscale objects behave differently than their macroscale counterparts, giving access to exciting novel applications. Nanowires, nanorods or nanobelts are wire-like structures at least a 1000 times thinner than a human hair, and they are viewed as ideal building blocks for nanoscale devices with a multitude of potential applications. They can be synthesised by several different techniques from a large range of materials. Yet, ZnO stands out because of its remarkable intrinsic properties. For example, ZnO is transparent but absorbs UV light, it has the ability to generate a voltage when subjected to mechanical strain, it can channel and emit light, it is non toxic and it can be used to detect minute amounts of molecules. Currently ZnO is used in cosmetics and paints but has the potential to change our everyday life through nanotechnology applications in electronics, optoelectronics, sensing, low carbon technologies and medicine.
ZnO is also a semiconductor which means that it has the ability to conduct both positive (p-type ZnO) and negative (n-type ZnO) electrical charges, depending on the nature of impurities intentionally incorporated during the growth of the ZnO crystal. The ability to grow both types reliably and to fabricate p-n junctions underpins the electronics and optoelectronics industries. Transistors in computer processors work because of p-n junctions in the silicon chip and lasers in DVD players are essentially p-n junctions, where the positive and negative charges recombine to produce light. Yet this ability is lacking for ZnO, therefore hindering the realisation of many potential applications. The fabrication of p-n junctions in ZnO nanowires which would lead to low cost nanoscale lasers and transparent transistors represent the main objective of this proposed research.
Dates: Oct 2005-Sep 2010
Summary: This project summary is not available for publication.