Fabrication of flexible polymer–GaN core–shell nanofibers by the combination of electrospinning and hollow cathode plasma-assisted atomic layer deposition†
Here we demonstrate the combination of electrospinning and hollow cathode plasma-assisted atomic layer deposition (HCPA-ALD) processes by fabricating flexible polymer–GaN organic–inorganic core–shell nanofibers at a processing temperature much lower than that needed for the preparation of conventional GaN ceramic nanofibers. Polymer–GaN organic–inorganic core–shell nanofibers fabricated by the HCPA-ALD of GaN on electrospun polymeric (nylon 6,6) nanofibers at 200 °C were characterized in detail using electron microscopy, energy dispersive X-ray analysis, selected area electron diffraction, X-ray diffraction, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, photoluminescence measurements, and dynamic mechanical analysis. Although transmission electron microscopy studies indicated that the process parameters should be further optimized for obtaining ultimate uniformity and conformality on these high surface area 3D substrates, the HCPA-ALD process resulted in a ∼28 nm thick polycrystalline wurtzite GaN layer on polymeric nanofibers of an average fiber diameter of ∼70 nm. Having a flexible polymeric core and low processing temperature, these core–shell semiconducting nanofibers might have the potential to substitute brittle ceramic GaN nanofibers, which have already been shown to be high performance materials for various electronic and optoelectronic applications.