ZnO Nanotetrapods: Controlled Vapor-Phase Synthesis and Application for Humidity Sensing


  • We acknowledge supports from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HIA05/06.SC02) and NNSFC-RGC administrated by the UGC of Hong Kong (N_HKUST604/04). Supporting Information is available online from Wiley InterScience or from the author.


A systematic study on controlled synthesis of ZnO nanotetrapods by combining metal-vapor transport, oxidative nucleation/growth, fast-flow quenching, and water-assisted cleaning is reported. The technique developed in this work makes possible the fabrication of ZnO nanotetrapods with different morphologies, with arm diameters down to 17 nm, and with arm lengths ranging from 50 nm up to a few micrometers. The octa-twin model is verified for the growth of the ZnO nanotetrapods. Photoluminescence (PL) studies indicate a higher level of surface and subsurface oxygen vacancies for smaller ZnO nanotetrapods. The ZnO nanotetrapods are first used for the fabrication of resistor-type humidity sensors, which show high sensitivity, quick response/recovery, long lifetime, and a wide range of humidity response. These favorite characteristics of the humidity sensors are ascribed to the unique morphology of the nanotetrapods, which can create a film with faceted pores and large internal surfaces.