Microstructure of ZnO films synthesized on MgAl2O4 from low-temperature aqueous solution: Growth and post-annealing

Boris Nijikovsky, Jacob J. Richardson, Magnus Garbrecht, Steven P. Denbaars, Wayne D. Kaplan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The microstructure of ZnO films synthesized from low-temperature (90 C) aqueous solution on (111) MgAl2O4 single crystal substrates was characterized by X-ray diffraction, high-resolution scanning electron microscopy, conventional and high-resolution transmission electron microscopy. To examine the thermally activated microstructural evolution of the ZnO, both as-deposited and annealed films were characterized. The ZnO films were confirmed to have a ZnO [1010](0001)|MgAl2O4[011](111). orientation relationship, with Zn polarity normal to the surface. Despite their highly oriented nature, the ZnO films have a columnar grain structure with low-angle (<2.5) grain boundaries. In addition to lattice dislocations forming low-angle grain boundaries, threading dislocations were observed, emanating from the interface with the substrate. In annealed films, thermally generated voids were observed and appeared to preferentially form at grain boundaries and dislocations. Based on these characterization results, mechanisms are proposed for film growth and microstructural evolution. Finally, the diffusion coefficient of vacancies via dislocations at grain boundaries in the produced ZnO films was estimated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1614-1622
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Materials Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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