Molecular Precursors for ZnO Nanoparticles: Field-Assisted Synthesis, Electrophoretic Deposition, and Field-Effect Transistor Device Performance

Zinc complexes with multidentate Schiff base ligands are suitable precursors for ZnO in microwave-assisted transformation reactions. [Bis­(acetylacetonato)­ethylenediimine]­zinc­(II) and [bis­(methylacetoacetato)­ethylenediimine]­zinc­(II) have been synthesized with high purity and good yield from the direct reaction of the respective diimine ligand with diethylzinc in tetrahydrofuran. The thermal decay is studied by thermogravimetry coupled with online infrared spectroscopy. The ceramization reaction in ethoxyethanol yields stable dispersions of spherical ZnO nanoparticles with very small particle sizes (around 5–6 nm), which can be employed for coating and thin-film deposition processes. Field-effect transistors (FETs) composed of thin films fabricated from these semiconducting ZnO particles possess charge-carrier mobilities of 6.0 × 10<sup>–3</sup> and 5.4 × 10<sup>–2</sup> cm<sup>2</sup>/(V s) after processing at 350 and 450 °C, respectively. Electrophoretic deposition affords dense film coatings composed of these ZnO nanoparticles with thicknesses of 30–90 nm on ITO (indium tin oxide) glass-electrodes. The positive ζ-potentials of the ZnO nanoparticles in these dispersions are in agreement with the electrocoating process at the cathode.