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Distinctive mapping of strain and quantum size effects using depth-resolved photoluminescence in ZnO nanoneedles
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In order to locate the spatially resolved influence of the strain, carrier localization, and quantum size effect (QSE) in tapered ZnO nanoneedles (NNs), the photoluminescence(PL) was measured as a function of the incident laser angle θ from 0∘ (normal to a surface) to 85∘. With increasing θ, the excitation point is spatially restricted along the axis of the NNs and varies from the ZnO buffer/sapphire interface to the tips of the NNs. In this way, we identified a strain-induced blue-shift of 25.3 meV at the ZnO buffer/sapphire interface, which corresponds to a tensile strain of 0.319%. The influence of strain and the concomitant indications of carrier localization decreased as the excitation point moved to a higher location along the NNs with increasing θ whereas the QSE revealed an abrupt blue-shift near the tips of the NNs. Furthermore, time-resolved PLmeasurement as a function of the excitation angle was used to distinguish the strain effect from the QSE. We observed two spatially competing tendencies: (1) the decay times are influenced by the increase in the interfacial strain and (2) the decay times are influenced by the decrease in the diameter-dependent QSE near the tips of the tapered ZnO NNs.
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