doi:10.1038/nindia.2013.66 Published online 21 May 2013
Researchers have devised a cost-effective and simple technique to synthesize zinc oxide (ZnO) nanorods that emit blue light and exhibit magnetic properties at room temperature. These nanorods will be useful for fabricating sensing and biomedical devices.
ZnO is a versatile material that can be tailored for various room-temperature applications. This oxide can also form a variety of nanostructures including nanorods, nanosheets, nanorings and nanoflowers. Among these nanostructures, one-dimensional nanorods are particularly promising for application in solar cells. However, most existing techniques for producing such nanorods are complex and expensive.
To develop a simple and inexpensive technique, the researchers synthesized ZnO nanorods by hydrolysing zinc acetate using ammonium hydroxide at 80 °C. The rods had diameters in the range 20–200 nm and lengths up to 5 mm. One end of each rod was tapered and pointed, whereas the other end was hemispherical in shape.
They then explored the emission and magnetic properties of the nanorods. The nanorods showed blue and near-ultraviolet emission and were ferromagnetic at room temperature. Blue-emitting ZnO particles are in demand for biological fluorescence labelling and full-colour displays.
"In the future, by controlling their shapes and sizes, these nanorods may be useful for imaging and drug delivery applications," says P. Sujatha Devi, a co-author of the study.
The authors of this work are from: School of Materials Science and Engineering, Bengal Engineering and Science University, Shibpur, Howrah, Nano-Structured Materials Division, CSIR-Central Glass and Ceramic Research Institute, Kolkata, Materials Science & Technology Division, National Metallurgical Laboratory, CSIR, Jamshedpur, India.