Mesocrystals of ZnO were synthesized hydrothermally by using gum arabic as a structure-directing agent. Their hierarchical structure has a unique twin-brush form consisting of vertically aligned nanorods in a single-crystal-like porous form. The formation mechanism of the twin-brush ZnO was investigated by quenching a series of samples at different times and examining them by TEM, SEM, and XRD. The alignment of ZnO crystal units can be modulated by adding simple salts such as KCl to change the units from nanorods to nanoplates. This can be explained by screening the dipolar force of the polar crystal. Local cathodoluminescence of twin-brush ZnO was used to follow the local structure changes.
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