The fabrication and characterization of hybrid architectures of ZnO nanowires (ZNWs) grown on organized carbon nanotubes (CNTs), by a two-step chemical vapor deposition (CVD) process involving CNT growth from a hydrocarbon source followed by ZNW growth using a Zn metal source, is reported. The ZNWs grow uniformly and radially from individual CNTs and CNT bundles, and the aligned morphology of the CNTs is not disturbed by the ZNW growth process. The nucleation and growth of ZnO crystals on CNTs are analyzed in relation to the classical vapor–solid mechanism. Importantly, the CNTs make uniform and distributed electrical contact to the ZNWs, with up to a 1000-fold yield advantage over conventional ZNW growth on a flat substrate. Hybrid ZNW/CNT sheets are fabricated by scalable CVD, rolling, and printing methods; and their electrical properties, which are governed by transport through the anisotropic CNT network, are characterized. Functional interaction between the ZNWs and CNTs is demonstrated by photoconductive behavior and photocurrent generation of the hybrid material under UV illumination. There is significant future opportunity to extend these processing methods to fabricate other functional oxides on CNTs, and to build devices that harness the attractive properties of ZNWs and CNTs with high volumetric efficiency over large areas.
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