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ZnO nanostructures for energy harvesting and sensor: growth, fabrication and characterization

Piezoelectric zinc oxide nanostructures are attractive for application in electronics and sensors, and can be effectively used for energy harvesting (nanogenerators) by conversion of mechanical stresses induced by the environment. High efficiency ZnO devices and nanogenerators require nanostructures (nanowires NWs, nano-micro pillars or cones) with uniform lateral size, length and orientation.

The activity is focused on the fabrication of ZnO structures through focused ion beam milling and growth of NWs using patterned electron resist layers as template. Focus Ion beam machining permit to realize single pillars and arrays of cones with top width from few hundreds to tens of nanometers. On the other hand templated chemical growth can be a viable and effective route towards a large area surface of ZnO nanostructures with fine control over their location, shape and verticality. Electron beam lithography allows for fine shaping the template layer with sub-100nm resolution. Apertures in the resist can be used to produce arrays of lines as well as bunches of NWs.
Electrical and nanomechanical properties of ZnO nanostructures are investigated by means of conductive AFM and nanoindentation.

ZnO activity poster

Andrea Notargiacomo (
Marialilia Pea (
Ennio Giovine (

[1]  R. Araneo, A. Rinaldi, A. Notargiacomo, F. Bini, M. Pea, S. Celozzi, F. Marinozzi, e G. Lovat, «Design Concepts, Fabrication and Advanced Characterization Methods of Innovative Piezoelectric Sensors Based on ZnO Nanowires», Sensors, vol. 14, n. 12, pagg. 23539–23562, dic. 2014.
[2] A. Rinaldi, R. Araneo, S. Celozzi, M. Pea, e A. Notargiacomo, «The Clash of Mechanical and Electrical Size-Effects in ZnO Nanowires and a Double Power Law Approach to Elastic Strain Engineering of Piezoelectric and Piezotronic Devices», Adv. Mater., vol. 26, n. 34, pagg. 5976–5985, set. 2014.
[3]  R. Araneo, F. Bini, M. Pea, A. Notargiacomo, A. Rinaldi, G. Lovat, e S. Celozzi, «Current -Voltage Characteristics of ZnO Nanowires Under Uniaxial Loading», IEEE Trans. Nanotechnol., vol. 13, n. 4, pagg. 724–735, lug. 2014.
[4] R. Araneo, A. Rinaldi, A. Notargiacomo, F. Bini, F. Marinozzi, M. Pea, G. Lovat, e S. Celozzi, «Effect of the scaling of the mechanical properties on the performances of ZnO piezo-semiconductive nanowires», in AIP Conference Proceedings, 2014, vol. 1603, pagg. 14–22.
[5]  M. Pea, L. Maiolo, R. Pilloton, A. Rinaldi, R. Araneo, E. Giovine, A. Orsini, e A. Notargiacomo, «ZnO nanowires strips growth: Template reliability and morphology study», Microelectron. Eng., vol. 121, pagg. 147–152, giu. 2014.
[6]  A. Rinaldi, R. Araneo, M. Pea, e A. Notargiacomo, «Mechanics of quasi-1D ZnO nanostructures for energy harvesting», MRS Online Proc. Libr., vol. 1556, pag. null–null, 2013.
[7]   A. Notargiacomo e L. Maiolo, «FIB milling of single-crystal and sputtered ZnO: SEM and AFM characterization», Microelectron. Eng., vol. 110, pagg. 465–469, ott. 2013.