This work uniquely reports the synthesis of ZnxMg1-xO nanowires and submicron columns by utilizing a traditional carbothermal reduction process toward forming ZnO nanowire ultraviolet detectors, while simultaneously utilizing Mg3N2 as the source of Mg. To investigate the relationship between Mg content in the ZnO lattice and the cutoff wavelength for high spectral responsivity, the nanowires were annealed in a series of designed conditions, whereas chemical, nanostructural, and optoelectronic characteristics were compared before and after treatment. Postanneal scanning electron micrographs revealed a reduction of the average ensemble nanowire dimensions, which was correlated to the modification of ZnO lattice parameters stemming from Zn2+ dissociation and Mg2+ substitution (confirmed via Raman spectroscopy). The analysis of cathodoluminescence spectra revealed a blueshift of the peak alloy band-edge emission along with a redshift of the ZnO band-edge emission; and both were found to be strong functions of the annealing temperature. The conversion of Zn2SiO4 to Mg2SiO4 (in O2) and MgSiO3 (in Ar) was found to correspond to transformations (shifting and scaling) of high-energy luminescence peaks and was confirmed with X-ray diffraction analysis. The tunability of the cutoff photodetection wavelength was evaluated as the nanowire arrays exhibited selective absorption by retaining elevated conduction under high-energy UV-C irradiation after thermal treatment but exhibiting suppressed conductivity and a single order of magnitude reduction in both spectral responsivity (Rλ) and photoconductive gain (G) under UV-A illumination. Noise analysis revealed that the variation of detectivity (D) depended on the regime of ultraviolet irradiation, and that these variations are related to thermal noise resulting from oxygen-related defects on both nanowire and substrate surfaces. These results suggest a minor design tradeoff between the noise characteristics of thermally treated ZnMgO nanowire array UV detectors and the tunability of their spectral sensitivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4899-4907
Number of pages9
JournalACS Omega
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 31 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)


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