Nanoscale semiconductor-insulator-metal core/shell heterostructures: Facile synthesis and light emission

Gong Ping Li, Rui Chen, Dong Lai Guo, Lai Mun Wong, Shi Jie Wang, Han Dong Sun, Tom Wu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Controllably constructing hierarchical nanostructures with distinct components and designed architectures is an important theme of research in nanoscience, entailing novel but reliable approaches of bottom-up synthesis. Here, we report a facile method to reproducibly create semiconductor-insulator- metal core/shell nanostructures, which involves first coating uniform MgO shells onto metal oxide nanostructures in solution and then decorating them with Au nanoparticles. The semiconductor nanowire core can be almost any material and, herein, ZnO, SnO2 and In2O3 are used as examples. We also show that linear chains of short ZnO nanorods embedded in MgO nanotubes and porous MgO nanotubes can be obtained by taking advantage of the reduced thermal stability of the ZnO core. Furthermore, after MgO shell-coating and the appropriate annealing treatment, the intensity of the ZnO near-band-edge UV emission becomes much stronger, showing a 25-fold enhancement. The intensity ratio of the UV/visible emission can be increased further by decorating the surface of the ZnO/MgO nanowires with high-density plasmonic Au nanoparticles. These heterostructured semiconductor-insulator-metal nanowires with tailored morphologies and enhanced functionalities have great potential for use as nanoscale building blocks in photonic and electronic applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3170-3177
Number of pages8
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science


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