Highly efficient UV-sensing properties of Sb-doped ZnO nanorod arrays synthesized by a facile, single-step hydrothermal reaction†
The synthesis of electrical and optical property-modulated, low-dimensional metal oxide semiconductors has been adopted for the development of nanodevices. However, conventional modulation methods, such as doping and alloying, generally require rather complex processes, such as multi-step high-temperature reactions, gas-phase growth, high-vacuum processes, etc. Alternatively, in the current study, the facile and cost-effective synthesis of Sb-doped ZnO nanorod arrays (NRAs) is achieved using a simple hydrothermal growth process at 95 °C. Through a single-step reaction, Sb atoms are substitutionally doped at the Zn atom sites with control of the Sb concentration. Sb dopants and Sb-induced oxygen vacancies increase the electron concentration in the ZnO NRAs, enhancing the electrical conductivity of the ZnO NRAs and inducing the further adsorption of ambient oxygen molecules on the nanorod surface. Upon UV irradiation of the highly oxygen-adsorbed, Sb-doped ZnO NRAs, the desorption of oxygen induces greater conductivity changes compared to the undoped samples. Based on this enhanced resistivity change, UV sensor devices were fabricated, and an improved reversible UV sensing performance was observed, with a ∼9-fold enhancement in the photocurrent of the ZnO NRAs after Sb doping. Moreover, UV sensing is achieved even under an extremely low bias of 10–6 V, suggesting the promising application of this material in extremely low-power UV sensor devices.