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Insights into non-noble metal based nanophotonics: exploration of Cr-coated ZnO nanorods for optoelectronic applications

Dixit, Tejendra, Palani, I. A., Singh, Vipul
RSC advances 2018 v.8 no.13 pp. 6820-6833
Raman spectroscopy, ambient temperature, chromium, coatings, electric field, emissions, green light, nanorods, photoluminescence, solar cells, transistors, zinc oxide
Herein, the room temperature photoluminescence and Raman spectra of hydrothermally grown ZnO nanorods coated with Cr are investigated for optoelectronic applications. A thorough examination of the photoluminescence spectra of Cr coated ZnO nanorods showed the suppression of deep level emissions by more than twenty five times with Cr coating compared to that of pristine ZnO nanorods. Moreover, the underlying mechanism was proposed and can be attributed to the formation of Schottky contacts between Cr and ZnO resulting in defect passivation, weak exciton–plasmon coupling, enhanced electric field effect and formation of hot carriers due to interband transitions. Interestingly, with the increase in sputtering time, the ratio of the intensities corresponding to the band gap emission and deep level emission was observed to increase from 6.2 to 42.7, suggesting its application for UV only emission. Further, a planar photodetector was fabricated (Ag–ZnO–Ag planar configuration) and it was observed that the dark current value got reduced by more than ten times with Cr coating, thereby opening up its potential for transistor applications. Finally, Cr coated ZnO nanorods were employed for green light sensing. Our results demonstrated that ZnO nanorods decorated with Cr shed light on developing stable and high-efficiency non-noble metal based nanoplasmonic devices such as photodetectors, phototransistors and solar cells.