Nature Materials, Vol.2, No.12, 821-826, 2003
Complex and oriented ZnO nanostructures
Extended and oriented nanostructures are desirable for many applications, but direct fabrication of complex nanostructures with controlled crystalline morphology, orientation and surface architectures remains a significant challenge. Here we report a low-temperature, environmentally benign, solution-based approach for the preparation of complex and oriented ZnO nanostructures, and the systematic modification of their crystal morphology. Using controlled seeded growth and citrate anions that selectively adsorb on ZnO basal planes as the structure-directing agent, we prepared large arrays of oriented ZnO nanorods with controlled aspect ratios, complex film morphologies made of oriented nanocolumns and nanoplates (remarkably similar to biomineral structures in red abalone shells) and complex bilayers showing in situ column-to-rod morphological transitions. The advantages of some of these ZnO structures for photocatalytic decompositions of volatile organic compounds were demonstrated. The novel ZnO nanostructures are expected to have great potential for sensing, catalysis, optical emission, piezoelectric transduction, and actuations.