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The role of impurities in the shape, structure and physical properties of semiconducting oxide nanostructures grown by thermal evaporation

1 Department of Materials Physics, University Complutense of Madrid, 28040, Madrid, Spain
2 Istituto Nazionale di Ottica (INO) – CNR, Via Carrara 1, 50019 Sesto Fiorentino FI, Italy

Special Issues: Nanomaterials for energy and environmental applications

A thermal evaporation method developed in the research group enables to grow and design several morphologies of semiconducting oxide nanostructures, such as Ga2O3, GeO2 or Sb2O3, among others, and some ternary oxide compounds (ZnGa2O4, Zn2GeO4). In order to tailor physical properties, a successful doping of these nanostructures is required. However, for nanostructured materials, doping may affect not only their physical properties, but also their morphology during the thermal growth process. In this paper, we will show some examples of how the addition of impurities may result into the formation of complex structures, or changes in the structural phase of the material. In particular, we will consider the addition of Sn and Cr impurities into the precursors used to grow Ga2O3, Zn2GeO4 and Sb2O3 nanowires, nanorods or complex nanostructures, such as crossing wires or hierarchical structures. Structural and optical properties were assessed by electron microscopy (SEM and TEM), confocal microscopy, spatially resolved cathodoluminescence (CL), photoluminescence, and Raman spectroscopies. The growth mechanisms, the luminescence bands and the optical confinement in the obtained oxide nanostructures will be discussed. In particular, some of these nanostructures have been found to be of interest as optical microcavities. These nanomaterials may have applications in optical sensing and energy devices.
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