Diverse morphologies of multidimensional hierarchical single-crystalline ZnO nanoarchitectures including nanoflowers, nanobelts, and nanowires are obtained by use of a simple thermal evaporation and vapour-phase transport deposition technique by placing Au-coated silicon substrates in different positions inside a furnace at process temperatures as low as 550 °C. The nucleation and growth of ZnO nanostructures are governed by the vapour–solid mechanism, as opposed to the commonly reported vapour–liquid–solid mechanism, when gold is used in the process. The morphological, structural, compositional and optical properties of the synthesized ZnO nanostructures can be effectively tailored by means of the experimental parameters, and these properties are closely related to the local growth temperature and gas-phase supersaturation at the sample position. In particular, room-temperature photoluminescence measurements reveal an intense near-band-edge ultraviolet emission at about 386 nm for nanobelts and nanoflowers, which suggests that these nanostructures are of sufficient quality for applications in, for example, optoelectronic devices.
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