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Morphology Transition of ZnO from Thin Film to Nanowires on Silicon and its Correlated Enhanced Zinc Polarity Uniformity and Piezoelectric Responses

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journal contribution
posted on 2020-06-18, 15:34 authored by Quang Chieu Bui, Gustavo Ardila, Eirini Sarigiannidou, Hervé Roussel, Carmen Jiménez, Odette Chaix-Pluchery, Youssouf Guerfi, Franck Bassani, Fabrice Donatini, Xavier Mescot, Bassem Salem, Vincent Consonni
ZnO thin films and nanostructures have received increasing interest in the field of piezoelectricity over the last decade, but their formation mechanisms on silicon when using pulsed-liquid injection metal–organic chemical vapor deposition (PLI-MOCVD) are still open to a large extent. Also, the effects of their morphology, dimensions, polarity, and electrical properties on their piezoelectric properties have not been completely decoupled yet. By only tuning the growth temperature from 400 to 750 °C while fixing the other growth conditions, the morphology transition of ZnO deposits on silicon from stacked thin films to nanowires through columnar thin films is shown. A detailed analysis of their formation mechanisms is further provided. The present transition is associated with strong enhancement of their crystallinity and growth texture along the c-axis together with a massive relaxation of the strain in nanowires. It is also related to a prevailed zinc polarity, for which its uniformity is strongly improved in nanowires. The nucleation of basal-plane stacking faults of I1-type in nanowires is also revealed and related to an emission line at about 3.326 eV in cathodoluminescence spectra, further exhibiting fairly low phonon coupling. Interestingly, the transition is additionally associated with a significant improvement of the piezoelectric amplitude, as determined by piezoresponse force microscopy measurements. The Zn-polar domains exhibit a larger piezoelectric amplitude than the O-polar domains, showing the importance of controlling the polarity in these deposits as a prerequisite to enhance the performances of piezoelectric devices. The present findings demonstrate the high potential in using the PLI-MOCVD system to form ZnO with different morphologies and polarity uniformity on silicon. They further reveal unambiguously the superiority of nanowires over thin films for piezoelectric devices.

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